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California

Rain, lightning and hail put on a show in L.A. as snow coats mountains in season’s first storm

After a weekend of record-breaking high temperatures, Angelenos broke out jackets and umbrellas Wednesday as rain — and even snow — fell on Southern California.

Temperatures across the Southland stayed in the low 60s as the first storm of the season passed through, with showers possible into Thursday.

Though flash flood warnings were in place in some parts of the state, including San Diego County and parts of the Inland Empire, “This is a fast-moving storm and the rains are scattered,” said Tom Fisher, an Oxnard-based meteorologist with the weather service. “Any showers overhead will be moving fast.”

The storm brought intermittent downpours across parts of Los Angeles and Orange counties as well as lightning and hail in some areas, causing localized flooding on freeways and streets.

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In Pasadena and downtown Los Angeles, pea-sized hail fell.

In Orange County, Seal Beach police tweeted just after 9 a.m. that the pier and the beach were closed because of lightning. Los Angeles County lifeguards reported lightning east of Santa Monica moments later, prompting the evacuation of the pier and beach areas.

Because of a continuing threat of lightning, lifeguards patrolled the beaches from Topanga to Marina del Rey advising beachgoers to be ready to seek shelter.

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The waves along Los Angeles County beaches were pushed by the wind, reaching 4 to 7 feet and prompting a high-surf advisory from the National Weather Service.

The most rain — from 1 to 4 inches — was expected along the coasts, valleys and mountains of San Diego County. Fisher said lightning and thunderstorms were possible in the mountains.

SeaWorld San Diego will be closed all day because of the storm, and General Dynamics-NASSCO has canceled its early shift for Wednesday, officials said.

In Riverside County, part of California 243 between Banning and Twin Pines was closed after heavy rains compromised one of the two lanes on the mountain highway.

“We’re hoping to get it fixed by tonight, but for now, the highway is closed,” Caltrans District 8 spokeswoman Terri Kasinga said Wednesday afternoon.

Kasinga said that shortly after 1 p.m., earthen support for one of the two lanes washed away when rain swept through the area. The concrete remained intact and did not give way.

Shortly before 1 p.m., Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia announced it would close for the rest of the day. Park officials said tickets purchased for Wednesday would be honored any other day this year.

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Los Angeles County’s coasts and valleys will see only a fraction of San Diego’s expected rain — up to a quarter of an inch — with the exception of the San Gabriel Valley mountains, which may experience heavier rainfall and about an inch total.

By 8 a.m., Hansen Dam saw a third of an inch of rain, and the San Gabriel foothills had seen between a quarter to half an inch of rain, Fisher said.

The rain will fall at a rate of a tenth of an inch per hour, not enough to bring much risk of mudslides in Los Angeles County.

“We’d need a much greater rainfall rate for a longer period of time to get those risks,” Fisher said.

San Luis Obispo, Ventura and Santa Barbara counties would be lucky to see one-tenth of an inch of rain, according to the weather service.

By 6 a.m., Mountain High ski resort in Wrightwood had a thin layer of snow coating the ground. Lockwood Valley mountains, at 5,400 feet above sea level, also saw light snow, Fisher said. At higher elevations, up to six inches of powder was expected.

Skies might still be cloudy Friday, but expect to put those jackets back into storage, at least briefly. Temperatures are expected to rise into the 70s over the weekend.

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City News Service contributed to this report.


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