If social distancing from the coronavirus hasn’t forced Angelenos indoors this week, the persistent soggy weather that’s expected to continue in the coming days may keep them bundled up at home.
A chilly storm that at times dumped rain and dusted snow across Southern California over the past few days will provide a bit more drizzle on Tuesday on its way out of the region. On and off showers that are expected to bring less than a quarter inch of rain are predicted to continue throughout the day with temperatures hovering in the upper 50s and low 60s, said Kurt Kaplan, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Oxnard.
While the sun is expected to break through the clouds on Wednesday, forecasters say it’ll still be chilly with temperatures lingering in the low 60s. The drizzle will return briefly on Thursday and again by Sunday.
While forecast models aren’t certain about the strength of the weekend storm, there’s one thing that has become clear in the past week:
“The March miracle is well underway,” Kaplan said, referring to a month of rainy weather that helps bolster precipitation totals for the state after persistent dry conditions.
This storm and the one last week have combined to give Southern California a much-needed soaking after a bone-dry start to the year. However, the region is still short of the normal level of rainfall.
By this time of year, downtown Los Angeles would typically have received about 12.5 inches of rain. So far, about 10.12 inches has fallen. At this time last year, downtown had received nearly 18 inches of rain, Kaplan said.
“We’re still a little bit behind, but we were well behind before,” he said. “This is an improvement.”
The chilly storm is expected to keep snow levels down to the 3,000 to 4,000 feet range on Tuesday, which could provide some flurries over the 5 Freeway in the Grapevine area. Snow that began falling in that area Monday night forced the Grapevine to close for about two hours.
While the snow isn’t expected to be as severe as Monday, “it could affect traffic if a cell gets over that area,” Kaplan said.
The series of chilly storms has also slightly boosted the Sierra snowpack which has dwindled in the past few months amid an underperforming rain season statewide. However, the snowpack is still 44% of its average for this time of year as of Monday.
While the rain and chilly weather may be a boost for the state’s water supply, individuals without access to reliable heat, such as Los Angeles’ homeless population, may be struggling to find warm places to congregate amid widespread closures due to the coronavirus. Public buildings like senior centers and libraries across Los Angeles County have closed, and restaurants are halting dine-in service.
However, the Los Angeles County Homeless Services Authority has a winter shelter program for single individuals. The shelter hotline is (800) 548-6047. Newsom also announced over the weekend that the state’s 108,000 homeless people would be the top priority for mitigation policies, with a significant push to move them indoors.
Though details remained unclear, he said the state had hotels and motels that could be used to provide shelter, along with an additional 450 state-owned trailers.