A strong storm system is expected to drench much of Southern California with rain and cover mountaintops with snow Monday and Tuesday.

National Weather Service forecasters have dubbed it “the most significant storm of the season.”

Coastal areas and the valleys could get up to 3 inches of rain during the storm, while mountains and foothills could see up to 5 inches.

About 1-2 feet of snow will fall on mountains above 7,000 feet, but the snow level could fall as low as about 4,500 feet by late Tuesday depending on the amount of moisture still in the storm system.

The storm will be accompanied by chilly temperatures, with daytime highs in the 50s Monday and Tuesday and lows dropping into the 30s Tuesday night in the mountains and parts of the San Fernando Valley, and into the 20s in the Antelope Valley.

Rain will progress from northwest to southeast, with the heaviest rain over Los Angeles County expected to fall between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. Tuesday, according to the NWS.

“On Tuesday the system will move into L.A. County and will likely make a mess of rush hour traffic. A very strong jet will move over the area,” forecasters said.

The storm will also bring strong winds to the area, likely sweeping over and down the San Gabriel range and bringing warning-level gusts to the Antelope Valley late Monday night.

Gusts could peak at around 60 mph Tuesday in the mountains and high desert.

Health officials advise the public not to swim or surf in ocean waters at and around discharging storm drains, creeks and rivers after significant rainfall due to a possible increase in bacteria, chemicals, debris, trash and other public health hazards.

The Los Angeles Fire Department issued a series of reminders Sunday related to the potential for mud and debris flow. Among them were:

— Acquire any needed sandbags and instructional materials at your local Los Angeles County fire station.

— Have an emergency plan in place.

— Monitor radio and TV news closely for information about weather conditions and flooding in your area.

— If your neighborhood is evacuated, identify important items to take (e.g., computers, photos, important documents, medications, and other essential items for your family and pets).

— Have enough food and water to supply your family for at least a 72-hour period.

— Remember to include a radio and flashlight with fresh batteries in your emergency kit.

— Stay away from flood control channels, catch basins, canyons, and natural waterways that are vulnerable to flooding during periods of heavy rain.

— Do not attempt to cross flooded areas and never enter moving water on foot or in a vehicle.

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