Fender-benders, traffic jams and clogged draines hit the Southland Tuesday as rain fell during the morning rush hour and occasionally throughout the day, and there’s more on the way off and on throughout the week through Christmas.
In addition to cold temperatures and the rain, powerful winds swept across the Antelope Valley and San Gabriel Mountains, while forecasters warned that high surf will continue pounding the coast for much of the week.
Rain dampened some roadways for the morning rush hour, contributing to a higher-than-usual number of fender-benders and crashes that made for a difficult commute. Scattered showers continued to fall in select areas as the day wore on, with the chance of more rain expected to slowly dwindle as evening falls.
No rain is in Wednesday’s forecast, but there is a 40 percent chance of rain in the greater L.A. area after midnight Thursday, falling to 20 percent Friday morning.
Christmas Day will be mostly cloudy. There is a 20 percent chance of rain that morning, giving way to a sunny afternoon, with temperature highs in the 60s.
Coinciding with the rain, strong winds whipped across the Antelope Valley and the San Gabriel Mountains, with the gusts expected to continue into Wednesday. Wind gusts of 71 mph were reported in the Antelope Valley by the National Weather Service, and nearly 70 mph on Catalina Island.
In the northern reaches of Los Angeles County, the Antelope Valley (14) Freeway was briefly closed to all traffic late Tuesday morning north of Lancaster, from Avenue D into Kern County, where high winds toppled multiple big rigs on the highway. About an hour later, the road was reopened to passenger vehicles, but big rigs were being kept off the freeway.
A wind advisory will be in effect until noon Wednesday in the San Gabriels and the Antelope Valley. A wind advisory will be in effect until 9 Tuesday night on Santa Catalina Island and in the so-called L.A. coastal zone, which includes beach cities, metropolitan Los Angeles, the downtown area and the Hollywood Hills. Winds of between 15 and 25 mph are expected in those areas, along with 35-mph gusts.
In Orange County, a wind advisory will be in effect until 10 p.m., and a coastal flood advisory will be in force until 10 Friday morning.
The rain hitting the Southland this week is the product of a series of storms forecast to cross California as a result of “a moist northern flow pattern across the region.” Overall, the storms are expected to bring a minimal amount of rainfall to the area.
NWS forecasters said Tuesday’s rainfall may amount to between one-tenth and one-third of an inch in L.A. County, and even lighter precipitation is expected on Thursday, when the storm system “will not be very impressive,” NWS meteorologist Dave Bruno told City News Service. Underscoring his assessment, what had been a rain forecast for Thursday has been changed to mostly cloudy.
Along the L.A. County coast, a coastal flood advisory will be in effect until 10 a.m. Friday as high surf continues.
A small craft advisory — a signal to inexperienced mariners in small boats to stay out of the water — was in force this morning, but then it was replaced by a gale warning that will last until 9 p.m. Wednesday, reflecting an expectation of winds of 20 to 30 knots with gusts of 40 knots, according to the NWS.
A storm system colder than Tuesday’s– though possibly packing less moisture — is expected across California Thursday.
“…The highest precipitation totals are expected to be north of Point Conception, but all areas have a chance of light to moderate rainfall. However, the main impact from this storm will be much colder air and increasing northerly winds Thursday night into Friday,” according to the NWS.
The snow level could dip to near 3,000 feet Thursday, and icy road conditions will greet holiday travelers on mountain roads, especially the Interstate 5 Corridor, it said, adding Thursday’s storm will bring high surf to the Central Coast.
Along with rain, the NWS forecast highs Tuesday of 54 degrees on Mount Wilson; 56 in Palmdale and Lancaster; 62 in Avalon and Mission Viejo; 63 in Laguna Beach, San Clemente and Yorba Linda; 64 in Saugus, Newport Beach and Irvine; 65 at LAX and in San Gabriel, Burbank, Fullerton and Anaheim; 66 in Long Beach, Pasadena and downtown L.A.; and 67 in Woodland Hills. Temperatures will remain in the 60s for the next several days.
With cold weather expected throughout the week, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health issued a cold weather alert for the for Tuesday through Monday in the Antelope Valley; Thursday through Monday in the San Fernando Valley and Los Angeles County mountains; Friday through Monday in the Santa Clarita Valley; and Saturday through Monday in the San Gabriel Valley and Pomona.
—City News Service