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Winter Storm Heading For Four Corners

UPDATED 5:45 AM PST, February 20, 2013

UPDATED By WeatherBug Meteorologist, Seth Carrier

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A potent Pacific winter storm is continuing its trek across the southern Great Basin this morning, heading for the four corners and eventually the Plains tonight. Along with rain, the storm promises much needed heavy snow from the Sierra into the Great Basin and Mountain West. Ultimately, it will become the Plains` problem later this week.

Rain is pelting Interstate 5 near San Diego and extreme southern California while snow piles up in the Coastal Range. As the low moves south and east today, snow will continue to expand into the Great Basin and Southwest. Bursts of heavy snow will plague the Mogollon Rim country of Arizona all the way north into the Four Corners. Snow showers will even reach into the central and northern Rockies this afternoon.

Meanwhile, up to a foot of snow will accumulate in the Sierra above 5,000 feet through this afternoon while as much as 2 feet sock the highest elevations in the Great Basin, Arizona`s Mogollon Rim country and the Four Corners today through early Thursday.

Combined with wind gusts up to 75 mph, travel will become treacherous along Interstates 10 and 80. Be sure to check ahead to see if there are any chain requirements for vehicles.

Winter Storm Warnings and Winter Weather Advisories are posted from the Sierra and Great Basin into the Southwest and Four Corners. Additional warnings and advisories are in effect for the mountains east of San Diego and Los Angeles where around 2 inches are expected in the foothills. Even a Blizzard Warning is posted across the southeastern Arizona mountains because of the combination of high winds and snow.

The storm will team up with another upper-low heading north from Mexico to spread a winter mess across the Plains beginning today. For more on the snow and ice potential in the Central U.S., click here.

The rain has been quite welcome along the California coast as moisture has been scarce this year. San Diego is almost 2 inches below average since January 1 while farther north Sacramento, Calif., is almost 5 inches behind par. In addition, central and Southern California continues to be in the midst of a moderate to severe drought.

The lack of moisture has put a lid on snowpack across the Sierra as well. Snow depth in the Sierra is almost 40 inches below average south of Mammoth Lakes, Calif., with departures of only 4 to 10 inches in the northern Sierra.

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