RIVERSIDE, Calif. -

A cold low pressure system moving in from the  northwest will bring periods of snow and gusty winds to the Riverside County mountains on Thursday, meteorologists said.

   The National Weather Service issued a winter weather advisory for the mountains from 7 a.m. Thursday to 1 a.m. Friday, saying snow showers could begin as early as late tonight before tapering off Thursday night. 

   By Thursday morning, snow levels will have dropped to between 3,500 and 4,000 feet, the agency said in its advisory.

   A winter weather advisory means that periods of snow will make travel difficult. Motorists were cautioned to be prepared for slippery roads and limited visibility on Thursday.

   The NWS said there would be an inch to three inches of snow accumulation  between 4,000 and 6,000 feet, with a general dusting below 4,000 feet.

   Also, the agency scheduled a wind advisory for the mountains and the Coachella Valley from 10 p.m. tonight to 7 p.m. Thursday. A wind advisory is issued whenever winds of 35 miles per hour or more are expected.

   The agency said there would be sustained southwest to west winds of 20 to 30 mph, with widespread gusts up to 50 mph, in the mountains Thursday.  Isolated gusts up to 60 to 65 mph were also possible near mountain ridge tops and on desert slopes, according to the NWS.

   ``Winds will make driving difficult, especially for motorists with high profile vehicles,'' an NWS advisory said. ``Watch for downed trees and other debris.''