Countywide : Rainstorm Could Drop Up to 3 Inches

A storm front that swept into Ventura County on Friday night was expected to drop one to three inches of rainfall in lower elevations and up to two feet of snow in the mountains through this weekend, authorities said.

Heavy rains that began about 7:30 p.m. were predicted to fall through the night, easing Saturday to periods of intermittent sunshine and showers before picking up again on Sunday, said Terry Schaeffer, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Santa Paula.

"It's a good winter rainstorm, the type we should have been getting for the last five years," Schaeffer said.

The National Weather Service predicted temperatures to dip into the 50s by Monday, before dropping into the upper 20s overnight. Citrus and avocado growers have been alerted to be prepared to mitigate frost damage with wind machines and orchard heaters.

The storm, coming as forecast, would provide the first major rainfall in Ventura County since March. The county has received below-average rainfall since the official start of the rain season in October, Schaeffer said.

Schaeffer predicted that at least one inch of rain would fall along the coast over the weekend, with another 1 1/2 to three inches inland. Between one and two feet of snow is expected in the mountains, with the snow line dropping to 4,500 feet by Sunday.

A bank of clouds moved over the county's coastline late Friday afternoon as ocean swells rose to five feet, Coast Guard Petty Officer Dale Steinmetz said. A small-craft advisory issued Friday was expected to remain in effect through the weekend, he said.

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