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'Miracle May': Rain, thunderstorms forecast through Saturday

Cold storm system from Gulf of Alaska expected to bring rain, thunderstorms to Southland

Rain and isolated thunderstorms are forecast for Los Angeles County through the end of the week, according to the National Weather Service.

An unseasonably cold storm system originating in the Gulf of Alaska is expected to move into Southern California on Thursday. There will be a potential for brief heavy downpours, lightning, small hail and waterspouts off the coast, the weather service said.

“It’s not rare, but we certainly don’t get nice, cold storms every May,” said Kathy Hoxsie, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Oxnard. “It’s Miracle May.”

The best chance for rain and thunderstorms will be Friday, Hoxsie said, adding that the storm is expected to taper off by early Saturday.

The Los Angeles area could be affected by showers and small hail during the Friday morning commute, according to the weather service. The weather service warned of possible hazardous driving conditions due to slippery roads from accumulated oil on wet pavement.

Precipitation across the Southland could be “quite variable,” according to the weather service, with more intense rainfall possible during thunderstorms. Rainfall amounts between a quarter and a half inch are possible across the coasts and valleys, with up to an inch in the mountains and some local areas.

The storm could also bring unseasonably low snow levels, with snow possibly falling to about 5,000 feet in local mountains by Friday morning, forecasters said.

Forecasters will be watching recent burn areas, including the Colby burn area in Glendora and areas in Camarillo Springs, which could be affected by mud and debris flow during the storm, Hoxsie said.

Gusty southwest winds of up to 50 miles per hour could accompany the storm in the mountains and Antelope Valley, the weather service said.

Temperatures in the Los Angeles area are expected to drop through the end of the week and to hover in the upper 50s and 60s on Thursday and Friday, Hoxsie said.

The rainfall, Hoxsie said, is not expected to have any significant effect on California’s lingering drought.

“Anything that goes into the groundwater and keeps people from watering their lawns is good,” she said. “It won’t make a notable dent in what we need, but everything helps.”

For more California news, follow @haileybranson on Twitter.

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