More forecast for next weekend — maybe snow, too

It’s early for April showers and late for a normal rainfall year, but the first 10 days of March 2018 have brought much-needed precipitation to the Hill.

The U.S. Forest Service’s Keenwild Ranger Station recorded slightly more than 1 1/2 inches of rain from Saturday morning until early Sunday. That plus more than an inch earlier in the week totals nearly 2.6 inches of rain this month.

The National Weather Service is forecasting a stronger storm passing over Southern California later this week through the weekend. It also

March 7 near High Castle. Photo by David Grise

is expected to be colder, bringing snow to the Hill.

On Monday, an early forecast for the week was rain and snow from Wednesday through Saturday. The NWS forecast snow levels would be at 7,000 feet Wednesday and dropping to 6,000 feet Thursday. On Friday, residents can expect to see the heaviest precipitation, but snow levels will likely remain at these elevations.

However, on the weekend, it is possible for snow levels to drop to the 4,000-foot elevation, according to Stephen Harrison, of the NWS San Diego office.

The early forecasts specifically for the Idyllwild area anticipated snow showers but are not indicating any significant snow accumulation yet.

The historic average rainfall for March is 4.1 inches. In an average year, about 18.7 inches of rain falls by the end of March. This rain year, beginning Oct. 1, 2017, has brought only 6.5 inches, and much of that in the past week.

Over the weekend, the Fern Valley weather site recorded about 1.75 inches of rain and 1.2 inches were recorded on San Jacinto Peak, according to the NWS. However, Garner Valley recorded about two-thirds of an inch of rain.

“We are still looking at a precipitation deficit, especially in Central and Southern California,” said Alex Tardy, NWS meteorologist at the NWS San Diego office. “We’ve only seen 25 to 40 percent of what we should have by now.”

Longer term, NWS is forecasting that the La Niña weather pattern will likely disappear this spring and neutral weather conditions will prevail beginning in April or May, and continue into the second half of the year.