Storms to usher in wet New Year’s Eve in Southern California

After a warm Christmas weekend, the first in a series of storms is expected to hit the Los Angeles area Tuesday and early Wednesday, with additional rain likely to usher in a wet New Year’s Eve in Southern California.

The first of three storm systems is expected to arrive from the Pacific Northwest coast of northern California this morning before spreading south into San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties, according to the National Weather Service.

The storm will hit Los Angeles County in the evening hours and produce steady rain for about 4 to 6 hours, with rainfall ranging from a half to 1 inch, with larger amounts falling in mountainous areas. Snow levels are expected to be at or above resort levels and are expected to make mountain travel difficult.

“It’s more than a typical storm, but it’s not like a big pounding storm,” said NWS forecaster Mike Wofford.

A high-pressure ridge in the Pacific warmed the California coast for the Christmas weekend, resulting in warm and sunny weather across most of Southern California.

But the sunny skies will soon be dark. The first storm is expected to subside in the early hours of Wednesday before another storm is expected early Thursday. Rainfall levels for the second storm are expected to be lighter, according to Wofford, with about a tenth of an inch expected for LA County.

A third storm with rain is expected in Southern California on Saturday, New Year’s Eve, according to the weather service, with amounts ranging from 1 to 3 inches. Snow depths are expected to be around 7,000 to 8,000 feet.

Rain is expected to end by Sunday, with high temperatures in the mid to low 60s.

The storms aren’t expected to have a significant impact on Southern California’s drought, but should be beneficial for Northern California, which is home to many of the state’s reservoirs, Wofford said.

“Northern California is doing pretty well — they get more rain than we do, which is beneficial since they have reservoirs that help us,” he said. “We won’t see a large increase in our local lakes with these storms, but NorCal will, and that’s an advantage.”

The series of storms is expected to bring Southern California about average rainfall for this time of year.

“Right now we’re a few inches behind last year, but we’re pretty normal,” Wofford said. “At least we’re not falling behind too much here.” Storms to usher in wet New Year’s Eve in Southern California

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