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WINTER STORM WARNING: Will It Snow In The Ortegas This Weekend?

With the rain and chilly temps that are forecast locally, will it be cold enough to snow along the Ortega Highway and in the nearby mountain peaks west of Lake Elsinore and Wildomar?

Patch file photo.
Patch file photo.

A winter storm warning is in effect for the mountains for late tonight through early through Sunday morning.

But with the rain and chilly temps that are forecast locally, will it be cold enough to snow along the Ortega Highway and in the nearby mountain peaks west of Lake Elsinore and Wildomar?

A cold low-pressure system from the north will bring snow showers and strong gusty winds, with heavy snowfall for the mountains, according to the National Weather Service.

Although there is a chance of light dusting and certainly some icy road conditions on SR-74 through El Cariso Village, forecasters are predicting the snow level will drop to 3,000 feet by Saturday night. El Cariso Village sits at an elevation of 2,600 feet, but there are higher peaks off the highway.

Snow accumulations are expected at 1 to 3 inches above 3,500 feet, 3 to 7 inches above 5,000 feet, and up to 8 to 10 inches above 7,000 feet locally and in the San Diego County mountains above 5,000 feet.

So what Southland areas are likely to get the most powder? According to the NWS, the areas include Angelus Oaks, Baldwin Lake, Barton Flats, Big Bear City, Big Bear Lake, Crestline, Fawnskin, Forest Falls, the I-15 at Cajon Summit, the I-15 at 3,500 feet, Lake Arrowhead, Mount Baldy, Mountain Home Village, Oak Glen, Phelan, Running Springs, Twin Peaks, Wrightwood, Aguanga, Anza, Garner Valley, Idyllwild, Mountain Center, Pine Cove, Pinyon Pines, Vista Grande, Boulevard, Cameron, Campo, Cuyamaca, Descanso, Julian, Lake Henshaw, Morena Village, Mount Laguna, Oak Grove, Pine Hills, Pine Valley, Ranchita, Santa Ysabel, and Warner Springs.

The NWS is reminding motorists that conditions can be treacherous in these areas. Wind gusts may top 55 mph, with isolated gusts to 60 mph near mountain ridge tops. Visibility will be reduced at times, with blowing snow and fog.

“Residents and travelers into the mountains should be prepared for hazardous winter weather conditions and possible road closures,” the NWS advised. “If possible, carry chains and take extra food and clothing.”

A winter storm warning for heavy snow means severe winter weather
conditions are expected or occurring, according to the NWS. 

“Significant amounts of snow are forecast that will make travel dangerous,” the NWS stated. “Only travel through the mountains in an emergency. If you must travel, keep an extra flashlight, food and water in your vehicle in case of an emergency.”

Want a guarantee of snow without risking your life? Head to downtown Lake Elsinore Dec. 6 beginning at 5 p.m. for Winterfest, where real snow will be on hand. Click here for more info.

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