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Predictions Revised: Gift of Rain May Be in Store Christmas Morn

Times Staff Writer

About Christmas morning:

Southern California could get some scattered showers after all, the forecasters said Thursday, reneging slightly on earlier predictions of a dry yule.

Meteorologist Rick Dittmann of WeatherData Inc., which supplies forecasts for The Times, said the storm front expected to arrive Saturday afternoon may not clear out entirely “until perhaps Sunday noon.”

‘Should Be Doozy’

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That system, he added, “should be a doozy--especially for Northern California.” It appears to be bringing “a lot more moisture” than the front that rolled into the Southland Thursday evening after pummeling northern counties with snow, wind and driving rain, he said.

The National Weather Service said that after showers end here Christmas morning, skies will probably be “partly cloudy the rest of Christmas Day” and the weather will be “rather nippy,” with highs only in the mid-50s along with gusty west-to-northwest winds.

Look for Monday to be sunny and a little warmer, said the weather service.

But then expect increasing cloudiness on Tuesday “leading to another chance of rain.”

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The snow level in the mountains probably will be down near 4,000 feet with 6 to 10 inches expected Saturday night.

By the time Thursday night’s front drifts on this morning, it should have brought .20 to .40 of an inch of rain in the coastal areas and 1 to 2 inches in the mountains.

Breezy Days

Forecasters said Southern California will remain cloudy and breezy today and Saturday with high temperatures in the coastal areas 54 to 60 degrees and overnight lows 42 to 48.

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On Thursday, the Los Angeles Civic Center high reached 59 degrees after an overnight low of 42. Relative humidity ranged from 68% to 37%.

In Northern California on Thursday, the storm forced the closure of major highways and snarled San Francisco Bay Area commuter traffic.

In the bay, where wind gusts reached 50 m.p.h., a wave punched out the window of a ferry boat. None of the passengers were injured.

Blizzard conditions prompted the California Highway Patrol to shut Interstate 5 north of Redding for several hours.

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Snow Level

Snow was expected down to the 1,500-foot level in the Sierra. At Lake Tahoe, where a winter storm warning was in effect, 5 to 10 inches of new snow was predicted.

High surf pounded beaches from Point Conception north along the entire California coastline.

The National Weather Service in Northern California said the Pacific storm due on Saturday “should at least be comparable to the winter storms so far this week.”

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People about to start driving somewhere for Christmas were advised to check ahead of time for weather conditions and to “be prepared for difficult winter conditions, especially over mountain passes.”

Dittmann, however, noted that “this is really good for the drought situation, because a lot of snow is being dumped in the mountains.”


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