LOS ANGELES (CNS) - The Southland will bask in sunny, unseasonably warm weather today ahead of approaching back-to-back storms, the second of which is forecast to be highly potent and to strike Friday morning amid below-normal temperatures.
The first of the two weather systems -- the weaker of the two -- should reach the L.A. area after 6 p.m. Thursday, followed Friday morning with “a very dynamic storm,'' said National Weather Service meteorologist Curt Kaplan.
The storms, accompanied by some disturbances, originated in the Gulf of Alaska and have been sucking up volumes of warm moisture from a so-call atmospheric river, said Kaplan, adding that Friday's storm will be the biggest so far of the season, which starts Oct. 1.
Early estimates are that the region will receive 2-4 inches of rain in coastal and valley areas but between 4 and 8 inches in the mountains and foothills, forecasters said.
“Possible impacts due to potentially widespread heavy rain include flooding for urban areas and small streams, flash flooding with mud and debris flows, especially near and below recent burn areas, and rockslides along canyon walls,'' warned an NWS statement.
“Travel delays are also likely due to reduced visibility and slick roads with water ponding on some roadways. Winter driving conditions are possible down to 6,000 feet late Friday into Saturday. Additionally, strong and potentially damaging southerly winds with this storm system may lead to downed trees and power lines.''
Kaplan said there could be rainfall rates of 1 inch an hour on Friday and added: “Stay away from canyons, burn areas, streams, washes, rivers, and dry river beds.''
But all this drenching is also having a salutary impact, putting a dent in the drought and doing so in dramatic fashion. Normally, downtown L.A. would have received 8.96 inches of rain by this time of the year in the season that runs from October to April, but it already has had 16.25 inches, Kaplan said, “and there's a whole lot more coming.''
The NWS forecast a combination of sunny and partly cloudy skies in L.A. County today and highs of 65 degrees Fahrenheit on Mount Wilson; 68 in Lancaster; 70 in Palmdale; 71 in Avalon; 72 at LAX; 75 in Saugus; 77 in Burbank and San Gabriel; 78 in Downtown L.A. and Pasadena; and 80 in Woodland Hills.
Sunny skies are forecast in Orange County, along with highs of 67 in Newport Beach and Laguna Beach; 69 in San Clemente; 77 in Anaheim, Irvine and Mission Viejo; and 79 in Yorba Linda and Fullerton.
Temperatures will drop by several degrees Thursday, falling to the mid 60s and low 70s, then fall precipitously on Friday to the high 50s and low 60s.
Downtown L.A. at 78 is forecast to be around nine degrees above normal today while at 61 on Friday, it will be around 8 degrees below normal, according to the NWS.