New Year's Eve Storm Packs a Punch With Snow, Rain

About 12 inches of snow to fell in mountains, lowland to see freezing temps

The last day of 2014 brought abnormally frigid temperatures, rain and snow to San Diego County, from the mountains to lowlands.

Spots such as Fallbrook, Julian and Ramona woke up to a winter wonderland, providing a magical view, but a nightmare on the roads.

Snow started falling on Mount Laguna at about 5 p.m. Tuesday, and the San Diego Department of Public Works ordered drivers to use snow chains if they are heading up the south and east sides of Palomar Mountain.

Wednesday morning, a foot of snow had fallen at Palomar Mountain, according to the National Weather Service. The snow was met by high winds, where gusts had been predicted to reach 50 mph through the mountain passes.

Elsewhere, many drivers were reporting icy spots on freeways, particularly in East County. The California High Patrol reported 20 single car accidents on Interstate 8 due to weather. Snow was forcing drivers to chain up before heading up to Mount Laguna.

Wednesday afternoon, road crews were assessing the freeways to determine whether they needed to put salt and sand on the roadways, though the roads were getting clearer as the day wore on.

A winter storm warning for San Diego County ended at 10 a.m. Wednesday, as forecasters predicted the moisture to leave the area. However, San Diego will remain under a freeze watch from Wednesday evening through Thursday morning, meaning the frigid temperatures could damage crops and outdoor plants and may harm pets.

For those of us living closer to sea level, New Year's Eve will be especially cold.

The daytime temperature is only expected to hit 55 in San Diego on Wednesday, with nighttime lows of in the 30s predicted for downtown San Diego.

That means it will be unsually cold just as we're ringing in 2015, so NBC 7 meteorologist Jodi Kodesh is encouraging everyone to bundle up for your evening festivities.

The colder temperatures are expected to last through Friday, though the rain should subside on New Year’s Day, according to the National Weather Service.

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