The National Weather Service is saying a front headed toward Los Angeles has the potential to be the "strongest storm of the season." The storm could bring between 2 and 4 inches of rain.
"One of the potential dangers is strong southeasterly winds gusting to 45 miles per hour Friday evening," NWS weather specialist Stuart Seto says. He warns that old or weakened trees could fall. A flash flood watch is in effect for all of L.A. County on Friday and Saturday.
The storm could start to bring sprinkles to the Los Angeles Basin this afternoon, but the core of its fury is likely to be felt from Friday morning to Saturday morning, Seto says. South-facing slopes of local mountains could see 4 to 8 inches of rain.
Snow is expected only in the highest elevations — "resort level" — because this is another Pineapple Express storm from the north that's also drawing tropical moisture from Pacific climes at lower latitudes. However, at 7,000 to 8,000 feet there could be 1 to 2 feet of fresh powder produced by this front, Seto says.
High temperatures downtown will stay in the lower to mid 60s Friday and Saturday, he says. And, unlike recent storms, he says, this one could punch Greater Los Angeles harder than areas just to the north, Seto says.
"We have this low approaching from the north and this atmospheric river from the southeast," Seto says. "Most of the precipitation will be from Santa Barbara south. Normally we get heavier stuff in San Luis Obispo."
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High surf will ride the Pineapple Express to town. Expect waves measuring 6 to 9 feet and possibly higher by Friday, he says. A high surf advisory is in effect today and tomorrow. A winter storm warning is effect for local mountains Friday and Saturday.
Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger urged residents of foothill communities to prepare for the worst, including possible mudslides. Sandbags are available at L.A. County Fire Department stations.
Weaker storms could strike Monday and Wednesday, Stuart says.