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Cold Snap Breaks Temperature Records As Snow, Rain Move Into Southland

RIVERSIDE (CBSLA) – The mercury barely budged Wednesday amid a cold snap gripping parts of Southern California, resulting in multiple record temperatures.

According to the National Weather Service, in Idyllwild, the high was 31 degrees, beating the 1994 record low maximum high temperature on Feb. 20 of 33.

Similarly, in Palm Springs, the temperature rose to only 59, replacing the 1955 record of 60 degrees for the lowest high for the date, meteorologists said.

In Thermal, the high of 59 was also a record, replacing the prior low maximum temperature of 62 degrees in 2011.

The 56-degree high matched the 1944 record in Indio, according to the NWS.

In Wrightwood, temperatures were in the 20s, and gusty wind made it feel even colder.

"Yeah, it's coming! It's gonna be a good winter storm for sure," said Brian Murray of Big Benny's Board Shop.

The chilly weather swept the region ahead of a trough of low pressure that produced some light precipitation. The system is forecast to power through the Southland overnight and Thursday, generating instability that could bring a half-inch to 2 inches of rainfall in some locations, according to the NWS.

Snow levels could drop to 2,000 feet in the San Bernardino Mountains Thursday night, forecasters said.

"I feel like it's endless at this point now," said San Fernando Valley resident Irene Worthern.

A winter storm warning is in effect until 1 a.m. Friday.

Up to 2 feet of snow is possible near the top of Mt. San Jacinto through Friday, while Idyllwild could get anywhere from 12 to 18 inches of snow, meteorologists said.

The inclement weather will make travel to those areas hazardous or impossible, forecasters said.

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

The low-impact rain event makes it unlikely that flooding, mud and debris flows will develop around the Cleveland National Forest and the Temescal Valley, according to the Riverside County Emergency Management Department.

A wide area skirting the eastern boundary of the Cleveland National Forest was left exposed to potential flood and mud damage because of the 23,000-acre Holy Fire in August. The arson blaze denuded steep terrain below Santiago Peak, permitting water to flow unchecked onto lower slopes where subdivisions are situated.

Heavy rainfall on Valentine's Day resulted in significant flooding, prompting street closures and evacuations. A homeless woman died Feb. 14 when she was swept away by a heavy water flow in a concrete stormwater channel in Riverside, and several homes in Lake Elsinore were damaged by the downpour.


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