First Alert Forecast

First of Three Winter Storms Rolls Through San Diego County

NBC 7's Meteorologist Crystal Egger is tracking three storms for San Diego County over the next seven days

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The first out of three winter storms has arrived in San Diego County bringing widespread showers and snow to the mountains.

"Most of Sunday will be dry with isolated showers beginning after 5 p.m.," NBC 7's Meteorologist Crystal Egger said. "We’re going to see widespread showers and isolated thunder overnight Sunday and early Monday morning."

The following warnings and advisories were issued Sunday by the
weather service:

  • A winter storm watch will be in effect from Sunday evening through Monday evening for San Diego County mountains.
  • A high surf advisory will be in effect from 6 a.m. Monday to 6 p.m. Tuesday for San Diego County coastal areas.
  • A small craft advisory will be in effect from noon Sunday to 2 a.m. Monday for coastal waters from San Mateo Point to the Mexican border and out to 30 nautical miles from San Mateo Point to the Mexican border extending 30 to 60 nautical miles out including San Clemente Island.
  • A gale warning from 2 a.m. Monday to 10 p.m. Tuesday for coastal waters from San Mateo Point to the Mexican border and out to 30 nautical miles from San Mateo Point to the Mexican border.

On Saturday, Julian received up to 2 inches of snow, while Palomar Mountain received up to 5 inches of snow, according to the weather service.

Significant snow accumulations will impact Interstate 8 east of Viejas Sunday night through Tuesday morning, heaviest Sunday night into Monday morning, the weather service said.

Julian's livecam on Saturday afternoon.

Those heading to the mountains need to plan for slippery road conditions, the NWS said – especially along mountain travel corridors like Interstate 15 and I-8.

“Be prepared for reduced visibilities at times,” the NWS advisory added. “Be prepared for snow-covered roads and use caution while driving.”

A checkpoint has been set up at the bottom of South Grade Road at State Route 76 checking all vehicles for the presence of snow chains, the California Highway Patrol said.

Snow chains are required for those who decide to visit the snow including in Julian and Palomar Mountain.

San Diegans should also be prepared for possible closures along popular roads that lead to the mountains. The last time there was snow in San Diego’s mountains, the roads were covered in snow and the traffic got so backed up, officials had to temporarily halt traffic on Sunrise Highway.

CHP issued some reminders to the public who will go and visit the snow this weekend.

“There’s going to be very minimal parking up there [mountains] and once it reaches capacity, we won’t be allowing any more people to go up to the mountain,” said officer Juan Escobar with Oceanside CHP.

Traveling through the icy conditions can pose a lot of different problems for the rush of people going to see the snow. NBC 7’s Ramon Galindo went out to find out about proper proper snow etiquette.

CHP also reminds people visiting the snow to not trespass onto private property as violators will be cited or arrested. The public is also reminded to remove any trash they produce as waste receptacles will be limited.

This second storm will bring heavier rainfall on Monday and will bring snowfall amounts between 12-18 inches down to 3,500 feet. Significant accumulation is possible down to I-8, east of Viejas, Egger said.

Free Sandbags

The County and Cal Fire are providing free bags and/or sand at numerous fire stations for people who live in the unincorporated areas. People should call ahead to double-check availability and remember to bring a shovel to fill the bags. Some stations may have a limited supply.

Click here to find a full list of sand bags.

You can follow all of NBC 7’s weather updates here.

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