Storm to bring optimal social-distancing weather to California with rain, snow

Cyclists have the bike path to themselves Friday along the shoreline in Long Beach.
Cyclists have the bike path to themselves Friday as they ride along the shoreline in Long Beach, which has been largely closed to the public.
(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

If you need more motivation to practice social distancing to slow the coronavirus, Mother Nature will help you out.

Storms are moving into California this week, bringing rain as well as snow to mountain areas.

A cold Pacific storm is likely to bring widespread rain and mountain snow to Southern California late Sunday into Monday, the National Weather Service said.


The low-pressure system is expected to draw in a plume of moisture from the Pacific that could produce significant precipitation on Sunday and Monday, said Eric Boldt, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Oxnard. The heaviest rainfall is expected on south- and southwest-facing slopes in the mountains and foothills.

Rain will be widespread, likely over the entire area Sunday night, with the most intense rain falling between midnight Sunday and noon Monday.

A threat of scattered showers will continue Tuesday through Friday with a slight chance of afternoon thunderstorms.

There is a winter storm watch for areas of Northern California beginning Saturday and extending through Monday.

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Up to 3 inches of rain are possible in some coastal areas, with the heaviest downpours expected on Sunday.

Some Sierra mountains could see up to 4 feet of snow.

Barbara Ferrer, director of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, said Friday the county should expect to see 1,000 new coronavirus cases a day in the coming weeks and that the key to keeping the rate of spread manageable is for the public to stay largely at home.


“The next few weeks are going to be critically important, because we are going to see more cases of people who are positive with COVID-19,” she said, “but it’s our hope that the rate of increase continues to be manageable and that we don’t overwhelm our healthcare system.”

Whether the increase remains manageable, Ferrer said, depends on how well residents adhere to guidelines that they wash their hands frequently, stay home as much as possible, remain six feet away from others when leaving the house and avoid going out entirely if they are over the age of 65, feel sick or have underlying health conditions.