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Light showers, but no major storms expected in L.A. until next week

Los Angeles residents already sick of the rain will get some relief over the next several days, according to forecasts from the National Weather Service.

Although meteorologists expect light showers to sprinkle the county Saturday and Monday, conditions should remain relatively dry until the middle of next week.

“The next real rainmaker for us would be Wednesday,” NWS meteorologist Emily Thornton said. That storm, she added, could bring about a quarter-inch to a half-inch of precipitation to the county.

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More than 2 1/2 inches of rain fell in four days in downtown Los Angeles this week, according to the National Weather Service.

The first major El Niño storms of the season — three in a row from the Pacific — caused some flooding of roadways and freeways, with relatively modest mudslides in areas recently burned by fires.

From a scientific standpoint, Bill Patzert, climatologist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, said this week was a "textbook" El Niño system.

He noted the storms' single-file formation over the Pacific, like jetliners queuing up for an airport landing. Once they made landfall, the rain fell at a clip faster than during the two previous big El Niño periods in 1997-98 and 1982-83, Patzert said.

Based on this, the 2016 El Niño — so far, at least — is shaping up to be impressive, he said.

The weak cold front rolling through the Southland will be less so. The light showers expected to arrive Saturday afternoon will add only about a 10th of an inch of rain around the county.

Temperatures are not expected to climb above the high 50s, Thornton said. Low temperatures in the mountains and foothills could dip into the 30s, she added.  

Though the rain could linger into Sunday morning, conditions are expected to dry out, Thornton said. She said similar light rain could fall again Monday before Wednesday’s storm arrives.  

For more on the California drought and water, follow me on Twitter @ByMattStevens 

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