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Storm brings L.A. area a little much-needed rain, forecast of snow in the mountains

Umbrellas dominate a rainy sidewalk scene in downtown L.A.
A vendor selling umbrellas for $5 was doing brisk business at the corner of 6th and South Hill streets in downtown Los Angeles on Wednesday morning.
(Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

Many Angelenos opened umbrellas Wednesday morning after thunderstorms brought heavy rain and lightning to the region.

Though L.A. experienced briefly heavy midmorning showers, the storm was expected to be “pretty inconsequential,” said Mike Wofford, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Oxnard.

The weather service said between one-tenth and one-quarter of an inch of rain would fall in most of L.A. through the evening.

By noon, downtown Los Angeles, Culver City and Bel Air got less than 0.15 inches of rain.

Areas farther south got more, with about 0.30 inches in Long Beach by noon.

Much of northern L.A. County was not expected to see any rain, Wofford said.

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Parts of the San Fernando Valley, including Calabasas and Van Nuys, got less than 0.03 inches by noon.

The weather service tweeted that “very small hail,” lightning and thunder could occur south of the 10 Freeway through 11 a.m.

Riverside, San Diego and Orange counties got hit harder.

Rain moved across Orange County in the morning, bringing brief heavy downpours and causing water to collect on roadways. The weather service said the storm would push into the Inland Empire later in the morning.

Lightning forced Seal Beach to close its beaches and pier until 10:30 a.m.

A winter weather advisory was in effect for the mountains in the afternoon. Between 2 and 4 inches of snow was expected to fall above 5,000 feet in the San Gabriel Mountains.

The L.A. County Department of Public Health issued a cold weather alert for Antelope Valley and mountain areas through Thursday in anticipation of below-freezing temperatures.

Dr. Muntu Davis, L.A. County’s health officer, previously urged people not to use stoves, barbecues or ovens to provide warmth indoors because of the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.

The region’s weekend forecast is for clear skies.

A system previously expected to douse parts of Southern California will now likely only bring “a little wind on Saturday,” Wofford said.

This week’s storms are not likely to make much of a dent in what has been a critically dry year for California.

December, January and February are typically the wettest part of the “water year,” which starts Oct. 1. L.A.'s average rainfall total in January is 3.12 inches, but only 2.44 inches fell this January.

Even local dogs were out of practice in dealing with a few raindrops.

Hannah Shapiro’s 17-week-old puppy, Lil Cacao, sat on the sidewalk outside her West Hollywood home Wednesday morning, refusing to move.

“My L.A. dog when it’s drizzling ... barely,” Shapiro, 29, said in a video she posted on Twitter. “Cacao, it’s not even ... there’s like two drops!”


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