Let It Snow

About six inches of snow fell at the top of Mount San Jacinto

You don't exactly think of Palm Springs as a winter wonderland but a steady snowfall blanketed the mountains above the Coachella Valley Monday as a strong winter storm drenched the valley floor.

About six inches of snow fell at the top of Mount San Jacinto by early afternoon, according to Lena Zimmerschied, a spokeswoman for the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway.

"It's been snowing like continuously all day," Zimmerschied said. "Hopefully we'll get up to about a foot."

A winter storm watch was in effect for Riverside County mountains until 3 p.m. Tuesday. The snow level will range between 5,500 and 6,000 feet, with 8 to 10 inches of snow expected, according to the National Weather Service.

The tramway is open, but Zimmerschied warned residents wanting to play in the snow to dress warmly as temperatures were in the 20s.

About 0.11 of an inch of rain had fallen as of noon at Palm Springs International Airport, which is below the tramway, said Stan Wasowski of the National Weather Service.

"It's very, very wet and slippery," said CHP Officer Ramon Perez.

He said the CHP has not tracked how many crashes there have been in the area Monday, but there was an increase because of the rain.

Mallotto also warned motorists to avoid southbound Date Palm Drive between Vista Chino and 30th Avenue.

"The water has a tendency to pool in the number three lane," she said.

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