A winter storm lashed San Diego County in California with rain and snow, stranding as many as 500 motorists on a mountain freeway and pouring mud down onto another roadway. Authorities reported 179 crashes on county roads between midnight and 9 p.m. Thursday, compared to the usual figure of 50 to 75 crashes in a typical day. The storm took the area by surprise as an area of low pressure moved from the Gulf of Alaska to southern California. Rain, hail and snow also fell in the desert near Palm Springs where temperatures had soared to 85 degrees just days ago. The weather cleared on Friday afternoon bringing more seasonable weather to the region.