If Santa Gave You an Umbrella, It Was Just in the Nick of Time

Times Staff Writer

Southern Californians who found an umbrella or a trench coat beneath their Christmas trees can thank Santa for being so prescient.

Gray skies, fog and cooler temperatures will prevail through the weekend, along with chances for light rain, the National Weather Service said Thursday.

The sun may make a cameo appearance or two, but the villain in this scenario is a low-pressure system moving through the area. In Orange County, a 30% chance of light rain is expected today in the morning, with clouds in the afternoon. The rainfall generally will be less than a quarter of an inch in coastal areas and up to half an inch in the mountains.

The rain should move out Sunday, but a thick cloud cover will keep high temperatures along the coast on the cool side--in the upper 50s and 60s--with overnight lows in the 50s.

The Weather Service predicts a 40% chance of rain Saturday in Orange County.

At San Clemente and other coastal cities, visibility was only three miles Thursday, but the clouds did not affect operations at John Wayne Airport.

Boaters who brave the gray skies and drizzle will find light and variable early morning winds in inner coastal waters, increasing to 8 to 16 knots from the southwest and west by afternoon and evening, with two- to three-foot swells.

Cloudy skies and a 20% chance of rain will also threaten San Diego today, but sunshine should increase Sunday and bring warmer temperatures. Highs Sunday will be near 70, with lows in the upper 50s.

The San Joaquin Valley will be dotted with areas of night and morning fog and low clouds during the day. At lower elevations, highs will range from the 50s to lower 60s, with lows in the mid-30s to 40s.

Weekend travelers to San Francisco will find cloudy skies and rain there as well, with high temperatures in the mid-50s. Showers are also predicted for the northern Sierra Nevada, with the snow level near 7,000 feet.

The Phoenix area will have light showers in the deserts and snow in the mountains, with gradual clearing Sunday. Highs in the mountains will be in the 50s and near 70 in the deserts. Lows will range from 5 to 15 in the mountains and from the mid-30s and low 40s in the deserts.

Las Vegas and southern Nevada will be cloudy, with highs in the 50s and 60s and overnight lows from the upper 20s to the low 40s.

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