Spring arrived in the Southland Wednesday along with a storm that produced heavy downpours, lightning, thunder and hail, making for slow and sometimes treacherous driving conditions, especially in central and southern Los Angeles County.
The storm originating in the southern gulf of Alaska was originally forecast to reach the Southland on Tuesday night, but it moved in later than expected.
The National Weather Service reported about 2:40 p.m. that a cell parked over the Compton area had been dumping heavy rain for two hours and was causing flooding on the Long Beach (710) Freeway between the San Diego (405) and Artesia (91) freeways. In Carson, street flooding left some vehicles stranded, according to media reports.
The same cell was producing thunderstorms and pea to marble-sized hail, according to NWS meteorologist Kristen Stewart.
Heavy rain fell around 1:15 p.m. in Porter Ranch and thunderstorms and hail were reported in the Long Beach area, according to the weather service.
Despite the downpours, no mud flows or debris runoffs were expected, even over areas that wildfires have stripped of vegetation, according to Stewart, who said rainfall rates in most areas were expected to be just below less than the half-inch per hour slide threshold.
The strong cell in southern Los Angeles County was expected to produce about 1 1/2 inches of rain in that area, but most other parts of the Southland not affected by thunderstorms were likely to see about a quarter inch of rain, Stewart said.
Thunderstorm activity was considerable less than what was experienced in the area a couple of weeks ago and was forecast to wind down in the evening hours with the loss of daytime heating, she said.
More rain is possible Thursday morning, but without thunderstorms, and precipitation is expected to taper off into the afternoon hours, Stewart said.
Meanwhile, high surf was pounding the coast and cooler-than-normal temperatures prevailed — about 6 degrees below normal in downtown L.A. and 3-5 degrees below normal in the San Fernando Valley, according to Bruno.
Along the L.A. County coast, a high surf advisory was went into effect at 5 Wednesday morning and was to remain in place until 3 p.m. Thursday amid surf of 4 to 7 feet. In Orange County, where a high surf advisory was scheduled from 1 p.m. until 1 p.m. Friday, the coast will be hit by surf of 3-5 feet, with sets of 7 feet.
“There is an increased risk for ocean drowning,” an NWS statement warned. “Rip currents can pull swimmers and surfers out to sea. Large breaking waves can cause injury, wash people off beaches and rocks and capsize small boats near shore.”
The NWS urged beachgoers to “swim near a lifeguard. If caught in a rip current, relax and float. Don’ts swim against the current. If able, swim in a direction following the shoreline. If unable to escape, face the shore and call or wave for help.”
The NWS forecast highs of 45 degrees on Mount Wilson; 58 in Avalon; 59 in Palmdale; 60 in Lancaster and Saugus; 63 in Burbank and at LAX; 64 in Long Beach, Pasadena and Woodland Hills; and 65 in downtown L.A. Similar conditions are forecast Thursday.
In Orange County, the NWS predicted highs of 41 degrees on Santiago Peak; 53 on Ortega Highway at 2,600 feet; 58 in Fremont and Trabuco Canyon; 59 in San Clemente; 60 in Laguna Beach and Yorba Linda; 61 in Newport Beach; 63 in Yorba Linda and Mission Viejo; 64 in Fullerton and Irvine; and 65 in Anaheim. Lower temperatures are expected Thursday.
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