Unseasonably warm weather Wednesday and Thursday in Riverside County will be replaced with sharp temperature drops, rain and snow showers through the weekend, according to the National Weather Service.

A ridge of high pressure anchored over the Great Basin is driving the mercury well into the 90s and keeping skies clear over the region currently, but will give way to cold, wet conditions on Saturday and Sunday — with a warning from Caltrans that some higher elevation roads may be impacted.

High temperatures Wednesday afternoon were expected to level out in the mid-90s for the Coachella Valley, San Gorgonio Pass and Riverside metropolitan area, with slightly lower temps in the Temecula Valley, according to the NWS.

Meteorologists said the ridge will cede to a cold trough of low pressure churning in the Pacific Northwest, expected drop into Central California Friday, with the bottom half of the system swiping the Inland Empire.

“On Friday, high temperatures for some valley and inland coastal areas will drop by as much as 20 degrees,” the Weather Service stated. “The initial period of widespread showers would be early on Saturday, with a second round of more widespread showers Sunday afternoon and evening.”

The Riverside metropolitan area could get up to a quarter-inch of rain over the weekend, while the San Gorgonio Pass near Banning could get up to a half-inch, according to the NWS. If any rain falls in the Coachella Valley, it will be less than one-tenth of an inch, meteorologists said.

Snow levels will drop to around 5,000 feet by Saturday night, meaning Idyllwild could get a few inches of snow through Sunday, forecasters said.

According to Caltrans, motorists should be prepared if they’re traveling on mountain roads this weekend, bringing snow chains and checking ahead for closures and travel delays.

“Caltrans crews will be on 12 hours shifts, 24/7 throughout the storm event,” according to the agency. “Chain installers will be available on mountain routes for safety and convenience.”

Strong, westerly winds are also associated with the autumn storm, with gusts potentially reaching 55 mph near desert slopes on Saturday, forecasters said.

The forecast high for Riverside Saturday is 60 and 59 on Sunday, while in Palm Springs, the mercury is expected to top out in the mid-60s both days, and in the Temecula Valley, the highs will be in the mid-50s.

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