Riverside County residents today were expected to soak up one more day of mostly sunny skies before another blast of cold, wet winter weather returns.
The follow-up storm to last week’s torrential rains is expected to arrive out of the northwest late tonight, ushering in a cold snap, periods of heavy precipitation and some mountain snow, according to meteorologists.
The storms pounded the area and authorities say may have caused at least two deaths, including a Menifee woman whose car was apparently swept into Canyon Lake as she tried to drive across a flooded roadway.
Rainfall totals from the blustery system, which will weaken Wednesday afternoon before moving out of the region that night, will range from as much as two-thirds of an inch in the inland valleys, upwards of 1 1/4 inches on west-facing slopes and a half-inch or so in the deserts, the National Weather Service reported.
The mountains, meanwhile, should get about 3 to 8 inches of snow. The highest peaks could get near a foot of snow.
Due to heavily saturated ground throughout the area, runoff will likely be immediate and fast-moving, possibly causing more of the types of flooding, mud-slide and debris-flow problems wreaked by prolonged downpours earlier this month, the NWS advised.
The storm also will generate stiff winds, especially in the mountains, where gusts may exceed 60 mph and reduce visibility to near zero at times while possibly downing trees and power lines, according to the weather service.
On Thursday and Friday, temperatures in the county likely will drop 10 or 20 degrees below seasonal averages, causing widespread frost in low-lying inland valleys.