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‘Lost Sheep’ Storm Brings Showers to L.A.

Times Staff Writer

Like a lost sheep separated from its flock, a storm system in the upper atmosphere broke away from the main flow of the jet stream and remained stationary off the coast of Baja California for a few days--spinning and picking up moisture.

That system began moving quickly to the northeast on Tuesday, bringing light showers that should continue through this morning in most parts of the Los Angeles Basin, forecasters said. The Los Angeles Civic Center recorded .01 of an inch of rain by early Tuesday evening, while .11 fell in Lancaster.

“The system is heading out rather quickly,” said Rick Dittmann, a meteorologist with WeatherData Inc., which provides forecasts for The Times. “After a few morning showers, there should be mostly clear skies by afternoon.”

The showers will linger throughout today in mountain and desert areas, which will not see any clearing until Thursday, Dittmann said.

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But the respite will be brief.

“A Pacific frontal system is heading south that will usher us into a new period of cooler and showery weather on Thursday,” Dittmann said.

Wet and cold December weather was responsible for more homeless people seeking temporary shelter in California National Guard armories statewide last month than during the entire winter of 1987-88, officials said.

Two dozen armories across the state were used to house about 29,000 people, including children, in December, National Guard officials said. Last winter, just over 28,000 people were put up in 16 armories.

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The armory shelter program began in December, 1987, when Gov. George Deukmejian ordered that armories be used to put up homeless people on nights when the temperature dips to 40 degrees in dry weather, or when it is 50 degrees with a 50% chance of rain.

The demand for beds in Los Angeles County has been so great that 60% of the county’s $365,000 in federal funds used to provide shelter--including hotel vouchers averaging $15 a night--has already been spent, officials said.

Los Angeles County Supervisors on Tuesday asked state and federal officials to provide more money, and asked the governor to allow the armories to remain open until 10 a.m. so that homeless people would not be put back on the street at 7 a.m. as is now the case. But with the county’s homeless funds nearly depleted, supervisors postponed a vote on a motion that would open three armories when the temperature drops to 45, rather than 40 degrees.

Tuesday’s Los Angeles Civic Center high reached 70 after an overnight low of 47. Relative humidity ranged from 58% to 26%.

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Highs in the Los Angeles area today should be in the upper 50s and 60s, but the mercury will settle back into the 50s when the new rains arrive on Thursday, Dittmann said.


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