After a weeks-long sunny spell, rain, wind and maybe even snow will return to Southern California on Sunday as a strong winter storm moves into the area, forecasters say.
The Pacific storm's punch is expected to be felt mostly during a six-hour window Sunday morning and afternoon, when as much as an inch and a half of rain could fall across the region.
Even more rain could hit the foothill areas of the valleys and the mountains. The National Weather Service predicts between 1½ and 3 inches of precipitation in those areas. Forecasters also warn of possible thunderstorms.
Meanwhile, strong winds with gusts as high as 60 miles per hour will also rip through the area Sunday; the strongest winds are expected over the L.A. and Ventura mountains and in the Antelope Valley, forecasters said.
The combination of wind and rain pose a number of potential hazards, weather service meteorologist Carol Smith said. Trees weakened by drought and power lines could be ripped down during the storm, the weather service said in a statement.
Snow could also fall on Interstate 5 near the Grapevine on Sunday night, with travelers facing blizzard-type conditions, Smith said.
"It's not the storm of the century," she said, "But it looks like a good storm. It's going to come blasting through here pretty good."
Smith said residents in areas recently struck by fire should stay remain vigilant, as the storm could generate flash flooding and debris flows.
She was hesitant to link the storm directly to this winter's strong El Niño, but acknowledged, "This is El Niño time."
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