February 23, 2024 2:35 pm

Weather Update: Rain and Wind Heading to Southern California

The dry and warm weather that has dominated the Southland in recent days is set to come to an end as a pair of storms are forecasted to impact the region, bringing substantial rainfall.

The initial storm system is anticipated to reach the area on Wednesday night, with the main impact expected early Thursday morning in Los Angeles County. The National Weather Service (NWS) indicates, “All systems are a go for a 4- to 8-hour period of heavy weather starting Wednesday evening across the Central Coast and lasting through about noon Thursday over L.A. County.” Unfortunately, the front and heaviest rainfall are expected to coincide with the morning rush hour.

Throughout much of the region, the rain is projected to fall at rates ranging from one-third to two-thirds of an inch per hour, resulting in total rainfall estimates from 1.5 to 3 inches, according to the NWS. Snow levels are forecasted to drop to approximately 5,500 feet by Thursday afternoon, with the possibility of 1 to 2 feet at mountain resort levels and up to a foot at elevations between 6,000 and 7,000 feet.

Accompanying the storm, strong winds are expected, reaching gusts of 20 to 40 mph and potentially as high as 60 mph in windier mountain locations.

Orange County is also bracing for widespread rain, prompting the issuance of a flood watch from Thursday morning through Friday morning. A high wind watch and a high surf advisory are also in effect on Thursday.

The forecast suggests waves of 4 to 6 feet, with some potentially reaching 8 feet along Orange County beaches. Rainfall is anticipated to diminish Thursday night, with mostly dry conditions prevailing through Saturday. Some snow may persist as low as 4,000 feet, indicating the potential for accumulation along the Grapevine stretch of the Golden State (5) Freeway.

A second storm system is on the horizon, expected to impact Southern California “sometime between Sunday and Tuesday.” While the exact track remains uncertain, forecasters warn of the potential for a substantial impact, including 12 to 24 hours of steady rain and strong winds. NWS officials caution that the storm’s trajectory might shift north, resulting in only light rain in the Southland.