New Year’s Eve afternoon brought a winter wonderland to Garner Valley.
Photo by Steven King

Once again the holiday weather was a good reflection of the season — winter.
By the time 2019 arrived, rain and snow had fallen over the Hill. However, the interesting result was that the more southern locales were wetter than the northern ones.
More than half an inch of rain was reported at Thomas Mountain and slightly more than 0.4 inches of rain at the U.S. Forest Service’s Keenwild Station. About a quarter inch of rain fell in the Pinyon and Sage areas, but Idyllwild Fire recorded just 0.12 inches on New Year’s Eve.
New Year’s Day was less blustery than expected, but very cold. Morning temperatures in Idyllwild were below freezing and barely reached 40 degrees in the afternoon.
That was the precursor to New Year’s Day night and early Jan. 2, when temperatures fell even lower. Only Anza remained above freezing at 32 degrees. Garner Valley was a crisp 27, Mountain Center recorded 25 degrees at 4 a.m., while Idyllwild and Pine Cove awoke to temperatures below 20 degrees.
Wednesday remained cool and cold at night.
The National Weather Service expects a slight storm, possibly snow at the higher elevations, over the weekend, and warmer days next week.
“The early part of next week looks to be mostly fair and mild under weak high pressure, but the models are indicating the arrival of another low pressure system for next Wed/Thu,” was the forecast Wednesday morning.
Despite concern of possible flooding in the Cranston Fire burn areas this weekend, NWS Meteorologist Alex Tardy wrote in an email, “There is a storm expected [to] move through but not major for Saturday night and Sunday morning. Looks like quarter to half inch (0.25 to 0.75) will be the most likely totals (Saturday night through Sunday morning) over each of the burn scars, which is not enough to cause debris flows. The Holy fire scar with heavier rain due to the storm track.
“January 10th is the next rain event — similar strength or slightly stronger.”
Despite a wet Christmas and New Year’s, the recorded rainfall in the past three month’s lags the historic average. Since Oct. 1, 2018, Idyllwild Fire has recorded 4.8 inches and about 5.5 inches have fallen at Keenwild. However, the long-term average for these three months is 6.9 inches.

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