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Driving home this holiday weekend? These storms could complicate your commute

Driving home this holiday weekend? These storms could complicate your commute
Rain clouds loom over Vista Hermosa Park on Nov. 26, 2016. (Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

The first of two highly anticipated storms moved into Southern California on Saturday afternoon, bringing rain that could snarl post-holiday commutes.

A second storm — expected to be the coldest so far this season — will follow on Sunday. Forecasters said snow levels could drop below 4,000 feet for the first time this fall, while gusty winds are expected to add to the hazardous conditions.

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The storms are part of a low-pressure system that moved south from the northern and central coasts , according to forecasters at the National Weather Service.

In addition to rain, Saturday's storm will bring a slight chance of thunderstorms, said Bonnie Bartling, an NWS weather specialist. Most of the rain will fall Saturday, and forecasters expect between one-quarter and three-quarters of an inch of rain the entire weekend.

Temperatures across Los Angeles and the surrounding area are expected to drop at least 10 degrees by Saturday night, with lows in the mid-40s and upper 50s, and northwest winds between 15 and 25 mph, according to the weather service.

Heavier rain could fall in areas where thunderstorms occur, but forecasters do not expect enough to trigger mudslide or other hazard warnings in areas recently burned by wildfires, Bartling said.

The cold front will drop snow levels in the mountains from about 6,000 feet to about 5,000 feet Saturday, Bartling said.

The second storm is expected to roll in Sunday morning. There will be less rain, but it will bring colder weather, Bartling said.

Snow levels will drop to about 4,000 feet Sunday and as low as 3,500 feet by Sunday night. Bartling said Sunday's storm will be the coldest the area has seen this season, with the lowest snow levels.

As much as an inch of snow could dust the Grapevine portion of Interstate 5, which could be slick over the weekend with poor visibility, Bartling said.

The NWS has issued a winter weather advisory for L.A. and Ventura county mountains that is in effect throughout the weekend. Forecasters predict three to six inches of snow above 5,000 feet.

The agency also has issued a high-wind watch Sunday for the Antelope Valley, where gusts could reach 60 mph. High temperatures throughout the region are not expected to climb above the mid-60s.

Meanwhile, in Northern California, scattered showers from the same weather system are expected to continue through Sunday morning, said Brian Mejia, a meteorologist with the weather service office in Monterey.

Those showers could bring brief but heavy downpours on roadways, Mejia said.

Twitter: @ByMattStevens

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UPDATES:

4:05 p.m.: This article was updated to reflect the changed weather conditions.

This article was originally published at 12:25 p.m.

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