It's not exactly Godzilla El Niño, but we'll take a three-car freight train of storms over another dry winter any day.
The National Weather Service says three storms moving in from Pacific waters northwest of us are poised to strike Southern California, starting tonight. A three-storm total of 3.5 inches of rain is possible, says NWS meteorologist Scott Sukup. The first will be the warmest and weakest, he says, bringing perhaps only a quarter to three-quarters of an inch of rain and little snow to Los Angeles.
The second storm, expected Thursday night through Friday, could bring some serious winter conditions, forecasters said. A half-inch to an inch and a half of rain is possible in L.A., Sukup says, with foothill areas likely to see the most precipitation. On top of that, a relatively good amount of snow is forecast for SoCal mountains.
“The Friday storm looks to be stronger, with moderate to heavy rain and mountain snow, with 6 to 16 inches of snow above 5,000 feet,” according to an NWS statement. “Snow levels may drop to 3,500 to 4,000 feet, creating winter driving conditions over major mountain passes such as Tejon Pass.”
The third storm, expected Sunday through Monday, “is kind of too far out to know” when it comes to rain amounts, Sukup says. “It could be the biggest” of the three, he says.
Look out for the usual major-storm accoutrements: gusty winds, flash flooding and high surf. “Incidents of urban flooding” were likely this week in all of California's major cities: L.A., San Diego, San Francisco and Sacramento, according to private forecaster AccuWeather. The L.A. County Department of Public Health has issued a cold-weather alert for the Antelope Valley through today and for mountain areas for Wednesday through Friday.
“Children, the elderly, and people with disabilities or special medical needs are especially vulnerable during such cold snaps,” Jeffrey Gunzenhauser, the county's interim health officer, says in a statement. “Extra precaution should be taken to ensure they don’t get too cold when they are outside. There are places where people can go to stay warm, such as shelters or other public facilities.”