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Rains in New Storm May Total 3 Inches : Weather: Showers are to resume today, possibly continue through Thursday. Coastal areas will probably be hit hardest.

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Orange County’s unusually wet January is going to get even wetter.

With more than 10 inches of rain already fallen on the county so far this month, weather forecasters Sunday predicted that a Pacific storm could bring as much as three inches more before the week is over.

The light, scattered showers that started Sunday are expected to resume today, and there’s a possibility of heavy showers and perhaps occasional thunderstorms in the afternoon and continuing into Tuesday and Wednesday--perhaps even Thursday, said Curtis Brack, a meteorologist for WeatherData Inc., which provides forecasts for The Times.

Snow levels in the mountains will be down to 6,000 feet, he said.

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“There’s a good chance that there could be rain each day” through Wednesday, said Brack, adding that Thursday’s forecast calls for only a “chance of rain” as the storm moves inland.

Drier weather should come by Friday and through the weekend, with forecasts calling for partly cloudy days, Brack said.

Some parts of the county could escape with only half an inch of rain, while others, probably the coastal areas, could get up to three inches by Thursday, Brack said.

“It’s been an unusual month already. You’ve gotten twice the normal rainfall for the season just in January” Brack said. “For the moment, there’s no letup.”

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Rainfall totals show that Santa Ana has received 12.58 inches of rain during the season that started July 1, with 10.63 inches falling in January alone. The normal rainfall total for the season by this time of year is 5.90 inches, Brack said.

Like most of the rains this month, the new downpour is coming from a Pacific storm that began in the Aleutian Island chain off of Alaska. The only difference this week is that Southern California--not the rest of the soggy state--will bear the brunt, Brack said.

“Unlike the last few weather systems, it looks like Northern and Central California won’t get battered much by heavy rain. This one will be centered on Southern California,” Brack said.

Locally, the only good news for the next few days is that the cloud cover will prevent the mornings from being as cold as they have been, Brack said.

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Sunday morning, lows dropped down as far as 43 in Dana Point and San Juan Capistrano.

The lows this morning were expected to be in the upper 40s, with afternoon highs in the upper 50s to 60 degrees, Brack said.

On Sunday, the highs included 63 degrees in Anaheim and El Toro, 60 in Dana Point and Santa Ana, 59 in San Juan Capistrano and 58 in Newport Beach, Brack said.


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