The second storm system to sweep the county this week is expected to bring snow to San Diego’s mountains above 5,000 feet in elevation, just in time for a white Christmas.
On Christmas Eve, light flakes of mountain snow mixed in with showers fell in the mountains, leaving a dusting of powder Christmas morning on the mountain ranges of Pine Valley and Mount Laguna.
The storm system was expected to dump inches of snow by the time it passes late Thursday -- and a third storm system is right behind, according to NBC 7 Weathercaster Ashley Matthews.
"I would not recommend going up to the mountains (Thursday) to enjoy some of that snow," Mattews said. "Wait until Friday afternoon and over the weekend because that's when that storm system will finally make its way through."
The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm morning from 6 p.m. on Christmas Day through 6 a.m. Friday.
The NWS said the storm watch includes the cities of Julian and Pine Valley, which could see snow accumulations of four to eight inches below 4,000 feet of elevation.
In areas between 5,000 and 6,000 feet, the NWS forecasted between eight and 16 inches of snow. In areas of more than 5,000 feet of elevation -- such as Palomar Mountain (6,138 feet) and Mount Laguna (6,271 feet), between 16 and 24 inches of snow was possible.
The rest of the county will see Christmas day showers. NBC 7 meteorologist Dagmar Midcap said it’s best to keep those umbrellas handy through at least Friday as widespread showers will linger.
“Pockets of heavy rain may be mixed in there from time to time as well,” she explained.
Driving conditions could be hazardous in the mountains, so take precaution if you’re heading that way.
The NWS warned of "significant reductions in visibility" amid snow and dense fog and said strong, gusty east to southeast winds are also possible. This could cause branches to split off trees and fall onto roadways.
Drivers should be prepared for potential road closures leading to the mountains and equip their tires with chains.
The storm system forecasted for the night of Christmas through Thursday has the potential to bring about one to two inches of rain along San Diego’s coast and inland. With that comes a risk of urban flooding in low-lying areas, so please be cautious while driving. If you see water in the roadway, avoid it.
By Friday, most of the county should dry out.
According to the NWS, the 24-hour rainfall for Monday’s storm – the first of two sweeping San Diego on this holiday week – brought some notable numbers.
San Diego saw 1.02 inches of rain, while Oceanside saw 1.01 inches, and Escondido .70 inches.