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New storm to bring more rain, snow to Southern California ahead of holiday weekend

Maria Fernandez on a rainy afternoon in Vista Hermosa Natural Park.
LOS ANGELES, CA-DECEMBER 27, 2021: Maria Fernandez, from Arcata, California, takes in the partially obscured view of the skyline as seen from Vista Hermosa Natural Park in Los Angeles on a rainy afternoon. (Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)
(Mel Melcon/Los Angeles Times)

The second of two storms forecast for this week is expected to hit Southern California on Wednesday, bringing more precipitation to close out a wet December and likely providing more snow for skiers.

By Wednesday morning, a low-pressure trough will swing through Central California, “and there will be widespread rain south of it and through all four of our counties,” said the National Weather Service in Oxnard, which covers Los Angeles, Ventura, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties. The system is expected to move south through Thursday morning.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Weather Prediction Center issued a slight risk for excessive rainfall Wednesday and that night in eastern Los Angeles County.

The snow comes as a much-needed surprise for the bone-dry West, where only months ago, officials put residents under a state of drought emergency.


Unlike most winter storms that tend to bring heavier rainfall to counties north of Los Angeles, this system’s most significant precipitation could fall over Ventura and L.A. counties, the weather service said.

Current models suggest that most snow and rain will fall over the San Gabriel Mountains, with 2 to 5 inches expected.

“There is still much uncertainty with the timing and amounts with this system, but residents of the recently burned area in Los Angeles County should monitor the latest forecasts as ... thresholds for mud and debris flow could be met with if the right ingredients come together,” the weather service said.

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Forecasters expect 1 to 3 inches of rain for coastal and valley areas, with 1½ to 2 inches in the mountains of Santa Barbara and Ventura counties, the weather service said.

A ‘quick-hitter’ storm is rolling into the L.A. area on Monday afternoon, and a second storm that is expected to linger for days is not far behind.

The area could also see significant snowfall at high elevations. Snow levels will rise through Wednesday morning at altitudes of 4,500 to 5,000 feet, the weather service said. A winter storm watch is in place for mountains in Santa Barbara, Ventura and L.A. counties.

“The greatest potential for heavy snowfall is for the San Gabriel Range Wednesday and Wednesday night, but there is still a possibility of 6 to 12 inches for the Santa Barbara and Ventura County mountains,” forecasters said. “Local amounts up to 18 inches are possible along favored south-facing slopes of the mountains. The San Gabriel Range will be a different story. Snowfall totals above 5,000 feet could range between 12 and 36 inches with this storm. Local amounts up to 48 inches are possible.”

Orange County could see up to 2½ inches of rain along the coast and as much as 6 inches in the mountains below 6,000 feet, forecasters said. Hourly rainfall rates of 0.6 to 0.7 inches are possible.


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