L.A.'s wettest month in years will continue through to New Year's Eve

Los Angeles County could see between a quarter-inch and half-inch of rain Friday as the first of two anticipated storm systems passes through the region this weekend, according to the National Weather Service.

The rainfall will add to what is already the wettest month recorded in downtown Los Angeles since December 2010, said David Sweet, a weather service meteorologist. So far this month, the area has seen 4 inches of rain, nearly double the historical average for December. 

On Friday, there’s an 80% chance of rain forecast at 4 a.m., with a possibility of showers returning Friday night, Sweet said.

On Saturday afternoon, a second storm system coming from the northwest is expected to pass through, bringing a 40% chance of showers into the evening.

Temperatures will fall to about 65 degrees on Friday and 50 to 60 degrees on Saturday, Sweet said.

Snow levels could drop to about 4,000 feet in the foothills of the Antelope Valley, according to forecasts.

The weather service also warned of possible wintry driving conditions Saturday along the Grapevine area of the 5 Freeway and the Cajon Pass area of the 15 Freeway.

Last week, some areas of Los Angeles saw as much as 2 inches of rain, according to the weather service. The storms contributed to nightmarish conditions at Los Angeles International Airport, where bad weather, crowded airspace, security scares and construction caused some flights to be delayed or rerouted. The rain also caused the usual road congestion and accidents.

In an area that has been hit hard by five years of severe drought, the wet winter has been a welcome development.

Steady, moderate rain over weeks and months this year is what has pulled 15% of the state — all of it up north — out of drought conditions, according to the weather service and the U.S. Drought Report. The rains have helped recharge reservoirs that feed the two massive systems that move water from the northern Sierra to the state’s cities and farmlands. 

L.A.’s rain isn’t expected to stay for long though. New Year’s Day is forecast to be mostly sunny.

Joseph Serna and Veronica Rocha contributed to this report.

nicole.santacruz@latimes.com

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