SoCal mountain communities bracing for close to a foot of snow in 1st big storm of season

WRIGHTWOOD, Calif. (KABC) -- Mountain communities in Southern California are bracing for the first significant storm of the season that's expected to blanket the region in heavy rain and snow.

Showers are expected to drop between half an inch and an inch of rain in Riverside County, according to the National Weather Service.

Meanwhile, mountain areas between 4,500 and 5,500 feet will see two to six inches of snow, though the heaviest snow is expected to hit elevations above 5,500 feet, including the San Jacinto mountains according to the NWS.

Those areas are forecast to receive 12 to 18 inches of snow.

Riverside County mountains will be under a winter storm warning from 8 a.m. Monday to 4 a.m. Tuesday, with strong winds also forecast to blow through snow-impacted areas, making driving difficult.

"If you must travel, keep an extra flashlight, food and water in your vehicle in case of an emergency," the NWS said.

Temperatures will dip below normal and stay that way until around New Year's Day, forecasters said.

It has been a dry winter so far, with very little rain or snow in the mountains, and local rental shops like Pharmacy Boardshop in Wrightwood say business has been slow as a result. But the incoming storm is expected to kick some spark back into the community.

Locals and regulars say falling snow will be a welcome sight, especially on the slopes.

Snow Valley Mountain Resort in Running Springs in the San Bernardino Mountains will close at 4 p.m. on Monday due to the incoming storm but will be open on Tuesday from 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., weather permitting, for skiers looking to take advantage of the fresh powder.

"We expect up to a foot of new snow and very, very cold temperatures... perfect for snowmaking, so we'll have more terrain open in the very, very near future," said Kevin Somes with the resort.

Ski and snowboarding resorts are allowed to remain open under Gov. Gavin Newsom's orders.

Those planning to head to the mountains are advised to bring tire chains.

City News Service contributed to this report.
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