Rain and mountain snow were beginning to fall over the Southland this evening, previewing a second storm later in the week that is expected to feature wet weather on Christmas.

The rain and snow were expected to gradually increase in intensity Sunday night, then turn into showers with isolated thunderstorms on Monday, National Weather Service Meteorologist Carol Smith said.

Rain accumulations could reach 1-1 1/4 inches in the L.A. basin, with more in the San Fernando and Santa Clarita valleys. Mountains could receive up to 1 1/2 inches of rain with 2-6 inches of snow from 5,000 to 7,000 feet, and 6-12 inches above 7,000 feet, Smith said.

Temperatures were in the 50s and 60s Sunday in the Southland, and were expected to remain cool on Monday, with a high of 58 degrees forecast for downtown Los Angeles.

Meanwhile, a cold air mass is expected to move over the area Wednesday, leading to a colder rain storm and lower snow level. There is a chance rain will begin Christmas morning, but is more likely to start in the afternoon and continue into Thursday, the NWS said.

The snow level could drop to 4,000 feet or lower from this storm and accumulations of rain and snow could be similar to the Sunday-Monday storm.

Temperatures on Christmas day are expected to be in the upper 50s in the L.A. basin, with Wednesday night lows in the 40s and Thursday’s high around 60, Smith said.

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