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A wet New Year’s Eve for Southern California as rain storms continues into the weekend

A young girl looks through large mounted binoculars while her father shields her from rain by an umbrella.
Visiting from Miami, Luis Capote and his daughter Leia look toward new horizons outside Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles.
(Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)
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Southern California can expect a soggy New Year’s Eve, with weather experts predicting heavy rains and winds from a series of storm systems moving through the region.

Possible light drizzles are in the forecast for Friday, with rainfall totals around a one-tenth of an inch for Los Angeles County, according to the National Weather Service.

But conditions are expected to pick up Saturday, with more significant rainfall — about one-fourth to one-third of a inch — in the afternoon, with heavier showers in the evening bringing an additional three-quarters of an inch to two inches of rain.

“That is when we will see the bulk of the rain of the system,” Todd Hall, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Oxnard, said, advising residents to have New Year’s Eve contingency plans. “It is not going to be something you want to be outside in.”

Powerful southwest winds between 25 to 40 mph, with possible gusts up to 60 mph, are also expected. The weather service issued a high wind watch for the Los Angeles County mountains and the Antelope Valley from Saturday morning through Saturday evening.

Conditions are expected to clear up temporarily on Sunday, New Year’s Day, with sunny skies and temperatures in the low 60s, according to forecasters.

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Weather for the Pasadena Rose Parade, which is returning Monday for the first time in three years without COVID restrictions, is expected to be cloudy and cool but dry. The 2019 Rose Parade drew about 700,000 viewers along the 5.5-mile route.

Rain is expected to return to Southern California on Tuesday and continue through the rest of the week, weather experts said.

“The storm window is open,” Hall said, adding that the continuous soggy forecast is “a rare pattern we get to see every once in a while.”

That’s always good news for the drought, Hall said, because this series of storms is likely to dump plenty of moisture into the area.

Downtown L.A. ended the calendar year with 6.06 inches of rain, compared with around 14 inches normally, Hall said.

But the water year, which begins in October, is off to a good start, he said: about 3.69 inches in downtown L.A., compared with about 3.61 inches normally.

“There is a great potential to really put ourselves above normal for the water year … to really catch up and make a dent in the drought,” Hall said.

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