Southern California’s last winter storm of 2021 grazed Riverside County Thursday and was expected to produce only light precipitation going into Friday, when it will exit to the east, ushering in a dry-out and warmer conditions for next week.
The bulk of the heavy weather associated with the trough of low pressure that made landfall Wednesday was veering to the north of the county, hammering the San Bernardino Mountains, though showery activity was prevalent across the western and central county areas.
According to the National Weather Service, the Riverside metropolitan area could still receive a half-inch of rain between Thursday afternoon and Friday morning, with about the same amount possible for the Temecula Valley, and a potential for one-third of an inch of precipitation for the San Gorgonio Pass.
The Coachella Valley is likely to receive less than a tenth of an inch, forecasters said.
The Weather Service canceled a Winter Storm Warning for the mountains south of Interstate 10, including the Idyllwild-Pine Cove area along Highway 243. A Flood Watch for Riverside County valleys was additionally nixed as the storm threat subsided.
Prognostication charts published by the NWS showed the storm system entirely out of the Inland Empire by Friday night.
“Saturday night is expected to be the coldest night, with areas of frost in portions of the inland valleys,” the Weather Service stated.
Low temperatures in the Riverside metropolitan area Saturday are predicted to be around 35, with a similar prediction for the Temecula Valley, and the upper 30s for the Coachella Valley.
Forecasters said the region is in store for a dry spell from Saturday through next week, with ridges of high pressure settling off the coast and over the Great Basin, influencing local weather patterns.
“Much of next week should be dry,” the NWS said. “A slow warming trend could finally return high temperatures to near average” by Wednesday or next Thursday.
Two road closures remain in effect following the Christmas Eve storm, according to the Riverside County Department of Transportation.
Leon Road, between Domenigoni Parkway and Olive Avenue, remains closed in Winchester, and a segment of Bridge Street between Fernandez and Gilman Springs roads remains shut down just north of San Jacinto.