Trio of storms to bring dangerous surf and 6 inches of rain to Southern California

A trio of storms now headed for Southern California will bring dangerous surf, strong winds and up to 6 inches of rain by early next week, according to the National Weather Service.

The storms are similar to those that rocked Northern California recently by flooding rivers, blocking mountain passes and causing several deaths. This latest round, however, is expected to pack less of a wallop, forecasters say.

The first storm should arrive Wednesday night and is expected to drop between 0.75 and 1.25 inches of rain in the foothills and valleys through Thursday, said Stuart Seto of the National Weather Service in Oxnard.

The second storm will arrive later Thursday night and could drop another 2 inches of rain and up to 3 inches in the San Gabriel Valley foothills by Saturday, Seto said.

The third storm is is predicted to be the strongest and will arrive Sunday, Seto said. Fueled by warmer moist air, the storm could dump up to 3 inches of rain in the valleys and foothills, and up to 5 inches of rain in the mountains, he said.

The storms will also create windy and dangerous surf conditions along the coast. Waves along the beaches Los Angeles and Ventura counties could hit 15 feet this weekend while the Orange County and San Diego County coastlines could be slammed with 16-foot waves, forecasters said.

People should stay off rocks and jetties, Seto said. The waves could damage piers as a powerful winter storm did in December 2015.

The storms are part of a banner water year for California.

Several months into its sixth year of drought, California is now on pace to mark its wettest year in recorded history. Recent storms have created deep piles of snow in the Sierra Nevada and sent hundreds of billions of gallons of water coursing into lakes and reservoirs.

More than 40% of the state — all of it in the north — is no longer considered to be in drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. Although recent rains have improved conditions in the southern part of the state, drought conditions persist.

joseph.serna@latimes.com

For breaking California news, follow @JosephSerna on Twitter.

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