Wet weather heading to Southern California this weekend

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A slow winter storm that hits northern California with rain and snow is heading south, promising to deliver a rainy vacation weekend in Los Angeles.

Rain is expected to develop in northern San Luis Obispo County and Santa Barbara County on Wednesday, but will not likely slip into Los Angeles County until Thursday, the National Weather Service said.

At this point, the dry cloudy conditions that persisted throughout the week will be replaced by an extended period of “wet and unstable weather”.

Thursday afternoon, “It should rain everywhere,” forecasters said, although models were not yet in agreement on the exact timing of the storm or precipitation totals.

“There are a lot of different rooms, and the path it takes is not traditional,” said Mike Wofford, a meteorologist in the Weather Service’s Oxnard office, noting that the storm is positioned to the west and attracts southern humidity.

“A lot of ingredients have to come together, which complicates the timing and how much is going to fall,” he said.

Forecasts indicate that LA residents will experience periods of moderate to heavy rain starting Thursday, which could lead to booming vacation trips and dangerous delays.

Flood watches were issued in several areas of southern California – including parts of San Bernardino, Riverside, San Diego and Orange counties – from Thursday evening to Friday morning. Excessive runoff could cause rivers, streams, streams and other low lying places to be inundated, forecasters warned.

Minor mudslides and debris could occur in and around recent burn scars, including those caused by the Bond, Apple and El Dorado fires. Residents are advised to exercise caution when driving on slippery or icy roads.

Orange County authorities issued a voluntary evacuation warning starting at 8 a.m. Thursday for Silverado Canyon, Williams Canyon and Modjeska in the Bond fire zone. Officials said the warning is expected to remain in place until noon Friday.

The canyon roads will not be open to residents until the warning goes into effect, authorities said.

The Canyons library will also be closed on Thursday, authorities said.

The evacuation warning is accompanied by flash flood weather monitoring in place from 7 p.m. Thursday until noon Friday.

Residents of voluntary evacuation areas are encouraged to leave early and make arrangements for shelter outside the area, officials said.

Persons with disabilities and others who need assistance with evacuating should call the Orange County Sheriff’s Dispatch Department at (714) 647-7000. People with pets or large animals should call Orange County Animal Care at (714) 935-6848 if they have any questions or need assistance.

Anyone needing to report storm related issues with a county road or flood control canal should call the OC Public Works Storm Protection Center at (714) 955-0200 during regular business hours. , or at (714) 955-0333 during flash floods and the like. emergency room.

County social services and the American Red Cross are planning to set up an information center and shelter to help evacuees at the request of canyon residents, authorities said. If a shelter is set up, the information will be posted on the county’s social media accounts.

The system is expected to continue dropping rain over Los Angeles and other southern counties on Friday, as up to 2.5 inches could fall along the coast and valleys, and up to 4 inches in the mountains. Above the Santa Lucia Range in San Luis Obispo County, up to 5 inches are possible.

The cold storm will bring cold temperatures and snow to mountainous areas, with snow levels expected to fall to around 6,500 feet late Friday afternoon and then to 5,500 feet after midnight.

Temperatures will drop nearly 60 degrees Thursday in downtown LA and into the 50s and above on Friday and throughout the weekend.

The good news: Snow shouldn’t be a problem for those traveling on the Grapevine before the holidays, Wofford said.

But most models agree that between Sunday and Tuesday, snow levels could drop as low as 3,000 feet, while as much as 1.5 inches of rain could fall in some areas. There is a 60% chance of rain in Los Angeles on Saturday.

“Looks like it’ll be a rainy Christmas,” forecasters said.

The storm has already started to bring rain and snow to the upstate, with winter weather advisory in force from Trinity County to Sierra Nevada.

Near Eureka, snow and hail are already under construction, with highways 101, 299, 3, 36 and 199 likely to be affected on Christmas Day.

Gusts of wind, rain and snow from the mountains have also arrived in Sacramento and will continue at least Thursday evening.

In the Sierra, officials said “extreme winter storm conditions“are likely above 7,000 feet due to heavy snowfall and blowing snow, most of which will fall on Thursday. Travel in the area could be extremely difficult or nearly impossible, and power outages are possible.

Meanwhile, National Weather Service officials in the Bay Area said precipitation forecast this week could bring San Francisco into its top 10 wettest year checked in. If the area obtains the 2.3 inches expected until Saturday, it will have received 12.5 inches since October 1, the start of the hydrological year.

The numbers are less impressive in Los Angeles, but still significant. Wofford said 3.06 inches had fallen in downtown LA since October 1 – about a quarter of an inch above normal for this time of year.

“We haven’t really set any records yet,” said Wofford. “We’re just going around par for now, and that will put us even more above par. But often in January we have long periods of drought, so we are not out of the woods yet. “

The numbers could continue to climb until the end of the year, with another potential storm on the horizon next week.

Models are once again at odds over the timing of this system, but most “are keeping California on target for the storm”, which begins in northern British Columbia, plunges into northern British Columbia. California then leans east over the southern part of the state, officials said.

The best chance of rain in LA following this storm will be Monday and Wednesday, with some drying and clearing likely Sunday and Tuesday.

Times writer Gregory Yee contributed to this report.

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