Strong winds swept over the desert mountain slopes and the north part of the Coachella Valley today ahead of a cold winter storm system expected to bring heavy snowfall to the region on Friday.
The National Weather Service issued a wind advisory for the Coachella Valley and Riverside County mountain areas until 3 a.m. Thursday.
During the advisory period, gusts in the affected areas could exceed 45 miles per hour, according to the agency.
“Winds will decrease somewhat late tonight and Thursday, though locally breezy conditions will continue Thursday,” according to an NWS advisory. “The winds will make driving difficult, especially for motorists with high-profile vehicles — watch for broken tree limbs and downed power lines.”
The NWS also scheduled a winter storm watch for the Riverside County mountains from late Thursday through Friday evening, saying a cold winter storm will likely cause heavy snow accumulation by early Friday.
The snow level is expected to fall from 4,500 feet Thursday night to 3,500 feet by Friday evening, with locally lower snow levels in heavier showers or isolated thunderstorms.
The weather service said six to 12 inches of snow accumulation is possible at and above 6,000 feet, while four to eight inches are expected in the 4,000-6,000-foot range.
“The snow will gradually taper Friday night into early Saturday,” an NWS advisory said.