Potent Storm Will Pack Punch

Downgraded storm still expected to bring county a lot or rain, wind and snow

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A big storm is headed this way -- it's not as big as originally forecasted, but it should still pack a pretty good punch and give you a good excuse to stay indoors on Saturday. 

A number of advisories are expected to be posted by Friday. These could deal with everything from thunderstorms and flooding to high winds and blowing snow. Be sure to check this Web site regularly on Friday for the very latest on this powerful El Nino event.

A few days ago it looked as if the storm would be even stronger and stick around longer, moving in as early as Thursday night and sticking around into Monday. However, the latest computer models have downgraded the storm to a later arrival and earlier departure.

The computers now say the first, light showers should start either late Friday afternoon or a bit later in the evening. The heavier showers, wind and periods of steady, moderate rain will blow in early Saturday morning and stick around through at least midday.

By late Saturday afternoon, the storm should taper off to occasional showers and is forecast to blow through by Sunday afternoon, about the time the Saints and Colts are kicking it off at the Super Bowl.

Rainfall totals have been cut to less than half of what was initially predicted. Near the coast you can expect maybe one-third to one-half inch; in the valleys maybe one-half inch to a full inch in the wettest spots.

Up in the foothills and lower elevations of the mountains we'll see 1 inch, with as much as 2 inches possible.

As for snow, it should start falling in the local mountains late Saturday as the cold-core of the storm moves across the county. 

By the time the last flurries fall on Sunday, we could end up with 3-5inches up around the Mount Laguna Lodge or the observatory on Palomar Mountain.

The ski resorts at Big Bear and Wrightwood are expected to benefit even more. Since they're a couple of thousand feet higher,  they could see accumulations on top of up to 2 feet.

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