A highly-anticipated storm system will move into Southern California this weekend, bringing much needed rain to the region -- the first substantial rainfall to hit San Diego since the top of January.
Big surf, high winds, possibly heavy rain and mountain snow are expected, as the storm moves ashore Sunday.
“This is a very typical El Nino storm,” said NBC 7 meteorologist Jodi Kodesh. “The plume of moisture associated with it, stretches all the way to Hawaii, so it’s packing some moisture.”
As soon as late Saturday night, showers could develop in our area. The storm itself will not move though until Sunday, possibly lingering into Monday morning.
A high wind warning is in effect for the San Diego County mountains until 6 p.m. Monday. Sunday, winds could reach 20 to 30 miles per hour with some gusts reaching 55 miles per hour. Later Sunday evening, gusts could reach up to 70 miles per hour with some isolated damaging gusts reaching 85 miles per hour. This will make driving extremely difficult, and could topple trees and power lines.
Late Monday morning through Monday afternoon, winds heading west to northwest are expected to reach 25 to 35 miles per hour with gusts of up to 60 miles per hour.
The strongest winds will hit mountain ridge tops and desert mountain slopes.
San Diego police and lifeguards have closed down Ocean Beach Pier for the weekend as a precaution.
“These waves are wind-driven, so you can bet wind will also be a problem with this storm,” said Kodesh. “Gale force winds are possible over the outer coastal waters, making it dangerous for boaters.”
Moderate rain is likely with this storm, and heavy rain possible. Coastal cities and inland valleys could receive anywhere from a quarter of an inch, to an inch of rain, while more than two inches could fall in the foothills and mountains. Desert areas are expected to receive about a quarter of an inch.
A Winter Weather Advisory will be issued 6 p.m. Sunday until 4 a.m. Monday for the San Diego County mountains, NBC 7's Vanessa Herrera said.
Sunday, the snow level will start around 6,500 feet, dropping to 4,000 Sunday night. Moderate to heavy snowfall will be possibly above 5,000 feet. By Monday morning, the snow level will have fallen to 3500 feet, where a dusting of snow is possible.
After the storm passes, next week looks mostly sunny. For weather updates from NBC 7, click here.