Showers, and then more showers, forecast as Southern California’s strange spring continues

People walk along the Venice boardwalk in the late-May rain.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

Don’t stash the umbrellas quite yet.

More precipitation is on the way as the strange spring weather that has battered the Golden State this week with pounding rain, hail and lightning continues.

A low-pressure system moving into Southern California on Thursday is expected to bring scattered showers to the coasts and valleys by the afternoon. Most areas will see light precipitation, but higher elevations — including areas north of Point Conception and along the northern slopes of the mountains — could see more significant showers, said Kristen Stewart, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Oxnard.

Forecasters don’t expect this storm to be as strong as the one that hit the region Wednesday, surprising afternoon commuters with downpours, lightning, thunder and even hail.


That storm dumped roughly an inch of rain on the Bel-Air Hotel in less than an hour and spurred the closure of beaches stretching from Dockweiler State Beach to Malibu for two hours. Stewart said there were reports of lightning strikes throughout the San Fernando Valley and in Ventura County.

But it was the pea-sized pellets of hail and the thunderstorms in several Southland communities, including Ontario and Yucaipa in San Bernardino County, that shocked people. Tiny bits of hail also littered lawns and residential streets in South Pasadena as the chilly storm moved through the area.

“The public is so used to the long drought that people forget it actually rains here,” Stewart said.


Large swaths of the state, including parts of Los Angeles, have seen two to five times more precipitation than is normal at this point in May, according to the weather service. The rain in the southern part of the state has fallen as snow at higher elevations.

In San Bernardino and Riverside counties, as much as 4 inches of snow are forecast for elevations of 5,500 to 7,500 feet, according to the weather service.

Over the last couple of days, major snow has fallen in the Sierra Nevada. Squaw Valley Ski Resort near Lake Tahoe saw 32 inches of snow in the last week, while Mammoth Mountain has reported 22 inches at its Main Lodge so far this month. Both resorts plan to stay open until July.

The latest storm is expected to move out of Southern California by late Thursday, making way for sunny skies Friday and Saturday.


But that won’t last long, forecasters say.

Another storm, originating from the Gulf of Alaska, is expected to move into the area by Sunday, bringing with it chances of thunderstorms and more unseasonably cold temperatures. Snow levels could drop as low as 5,000 feet with that system, according to the weather service.

The series of odd late-spring storms follows what was an extremely wet winter in California. A series of atmospheric river storms that hit during the winter months bolstered the snowpack — a key source of the state’s water supply — filled reservoirs and streams, and even left California drought-free for the first time in nearly a decade.


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