Rain, snow and chill are heading to Southern California this week

couple walk along the beach at low tide as the sun sets on Monday.
A couple walk along the beach at low tide as the sun sets on Monday, Dec. 6, 2021 in Topanga State Beach.
(Brian van der Brug/Los Angeles Times)

A pair of storms are expected to deliver an early dose of winter in the form of rain, snow and cooler temperatures in Southern California this week, officials said.

The first, weaker system will bring the potential for light rain to Los Angeles on Tuesday morning, according to the National Weather Service. A stronger system will bring a better chance of rain and mountain snow Thursday.

Both should deliver a few tenths of an inch of moisture, said David Sweet, a meteorologist with the weather service in Oxnard.


“It’s not going to make a dent in anything, but it’s welcome,” he said.

The back-to-back storms, which are moving from the Gulf of Alaska, will also deliver a cooler air mass that is likely to linger into the weekend, he said.

High temperatures will be in the low to mid-60s Tuesday and dip to the high 50s by Thursday — as much as 12 degrees below normal for this time of year.

Colder mountain locations, as well as the Lockwood and Antelope valleys, could see low temperatures plunge into the teens and single digits.

New research has found that winters of low snow, or even no snow, could become a regular occurrence in California in as little as 35 years.

Dec. 3, 2021

That chill will bring a much-needed chance of mountain snow — ranging from a dusting up to 2 inches — Wednesday night into Thursday, forecasters said. Accumulating snow in local mountains could drop to 5,000 feet by Thursday night.

Officials reminded residents to be wary of winter hazards that could come with the incoming systems, including slippery roads and low-visibility fog.


But the storms also mark a welcome change on the heels of a bone-dry November and a spate of unseasonably warm weather. Downtown Los Angeles received zero inches of precipitation last month — the first time that’s happened since 1992.

On Dec. 1, several daily high temperature records were broken, including 87 degrees in Burbank, 80 in Paso Robles and 76 in Lancaster, the weather service said. At 92 degrees, Ojai tied Chino for the hottest spot in the nation on the first day of the month.

The heat and dryness delayed some ski resort openings across the region, with officials at Lake Tahoe’s Sugar Bowl Resort commenting: “November’s weather was rough.”

“Now finally, we’ve got something exciting on the radar and we’re tuning back in,” they wrote in their latest weekly update. “A wintery blip is heading our way.”

Researchers have warned that warming weather driven by climate change could lead to years of “no-snow” conditions in California as soon as the middle of the century.