After temperatures above 80 degrees earlier this week, Ventura County's version of winter was expected to return overnight with up to an inch of rain possible by sunset today.
"This is a quick hitter, a quick mover," said John Sherwin, a meteorologist with the weather forecasting firm WeatherData Inc. "Rainfall could be heavy at times . . . but since you've been relatively dry for the last 2 1/2 to three weeks, problems should be kept to a minimum."
Officials at the county Office of Emergency Services agreed with that assessment, but noted that despite the dry conditions recently, the ground is still saturated.
"We're not anticipating any major malfunctions," said Program Administrator Dale Carnathan.
"We know we're going to have more slides--some of the already damaged areas are going to take more damage. Beyond that we're just going to watch [the rain] fall."
Sunny skies and above normal temperatures are expected to return Sunday and into the early part of next week, Sherwin said.
Light rain was expected to begin falling around midnight Thursday with the steadier rain coming ashore before 8 a.m. today, Sherwin said.
Some morning sunshine could give way to scattered heavy showers and even thunderstorms in the afternoon as an upper-level disturbance destabilizes the atmosphere.
Still, the weekend outlook is sunny, Sherwin said.
Mostly sunny weather returns to the region Saturday, and on Sunday some locales could approach 80 degrees, heralding another warm spell early next week, Sherwin said.
"It's topsy-turvy and changeable weather," he said. "It's funny because California is not known for changeable weather."