Rain and snow will close out the week, with a storm forecast to sweep across the Inland Empire Friday evening into Saturday morning.
“Rainfall is expected … across Southern California, with higher rainfall totals in portions of Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties,” the National Weather Service said in a statement. “The most widespread precipitation is expected Friday evening through overnight.”
There is a moderate risk of excessive rainfall in Riverside County mountains prompting the NWS to issue a flood watch through Friday evening.
A high wind warning has been issued for parts of Riverside County by the NWS from 3 a.m. Friday to 10 p.m. Tuesday with west winds from 35 to 45 mph and gusts up to 80 mph expected.
Riverside County mountains, Indio, Palm Springs, Cathedral City, Palm Desert and Borrego Springs are under the high wind warning. The strongest gusts are expected along the desert slopes of the mountains and in the northern Coachella Valley below the San Gorgonio Pass.
Forecasters said a trough of low pressure originating from the Pacific Northwest will roll into the region, blanketing the area with widespread rainfall, though the heaviest downpours are expected between the early evening and midnight hours Friday.
“Snow levels will be very high with this system, above 9,000 feet,” the weather service said. “All the precipitation that occurs in the mountains will fall as rain.”
The lack of freezing precipitation is likely to be welcome relief to residents of the mountain communities along Highway 243 in the San Bernardino National Forest, where cold storms in recent weeks increased snowpacks to the point that some roads were impassable.
Although most of the communities south of the San Gorgonio Pass and west of Palm Springs have dug out, residents of a few hamlets in the San Bernardino Mountains to the north remain buried.
Meteorologists said precipitation in the Riverside metropolitan area will be anywhere from a quarter to a half inch, while Riverside County locations closer to the mountains could receive up to an inch.
“Rainfall will end on Saturday morning, with dry and warmer days in store Sunday and Monday, as high pressure aloft pushes into the western states,” the NWS stated.
Daytime temperatures in Riverside metro on Friday will settle just below 60, with lows around 50 Friday night.
In the Coachella Valley, temperatures will top out in the low to mid-70s Friday, with lows in the mid-50s, while in the Temecula Valley, temps will peak in the upper 50s on Friday, with lows in the mid to upper 40s, according to the NWS.