Storm Moves into Southland, Bringing Rain and Cooler Temps

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - One day after being battered with record heat, a storm out of the Pacific Northwest moved into the region today, bringing with it the promise of the season's first rainfall along with dramatically dropping temperatures.

National Weather Service forecasters said they expect brief, heavy downpours late Tuesday night into Wednesday, along with a slight chance of thunderstorms.

Between a quarter-inch and three-quarters of an inch of rain are expected in L.A. County as a result of the weather event.

The storm will also trigger snowfall, with six inches expected in the San Gabriel Mountains above 5,500 feet, causing roads to become dangerously slick and threatening some flooding, which could prompt road closures, forecasters said. A winter weather advisory will be in effect from 7 a.m. Wednesday until 7 p.m. Thursday for the Los Angeles County mountains.

``A low-pressure trough approaching the California coast will bring significantly cooler conditions, and periods of rain as well as mountain snow Wednesday and Thursday,'' according to a National Weather Service statement. ``Drier and warmer conditions will return going into the weekend.''

Forecasters do not expect the Southland's first rain of the season to trigger mudslides or debris flows in Southern California areas previously denuded by wildfire, unless a thunderstorm produces an inordinate volume of rain, said Oxnard-based NWS meteorologist Rich Thompson.

``We don't yet see any significant issues,'' he said, adding that the lion's share of the storm system would strike San Diego County.

Although the risk of mudslides appeared to be relatively low, the Los Angeles city Department of Public Works noted that it has placed K-rail barriers in recent weeks. According to the city, 47 barriers were installed late last month near Sunset Boulevard and Palisades Drive, near the October Palisades Fire. A total of 50 K-rails were recently installed along Sepulveda Boulevard in the vicinity of the recent Getty Fire. The barriers are expected to remain in place for the next three years.

City staff will monitor recent burn areas, and if any mudslides occur public works officials said they will be ready to respond with the Bureau of Engineering and Department of Transportation to clear streets as quickly as possible.

A high surf advisory is scheduled to be in force from 9 p.m. Tuesday until noon Thursday. The surf will build to between 4 and 7 feet Tuesday night, continuing through Thursday morning.

``There is an increased risk for ocean drowning,'' warned an NWS statement. ``Rip currents can pull swimmers and surfers out to sea. Large breaking waves can cause injury, wash people off beaches and rocks and capsize small boats near shore.

``...Swim near a lifeguard. If caught in a rip current, relax and float. Don't swim against the current. If able, swim in a direction following the shoreline. If unable to escape, face the shore and call or wave for help.''

Record highs for a November 18 were set in several parts of L.A. County Monday -- 93 degrees at LAX, topping the record of 88 set in 1989; 92 in Downtown L.A, topping the 91 recorded in 2008; 92 at Long Beach Airport, beating the record of 90 set in 1989; 92 at UCLA, beating the 89 set in 2008; 92 in Woodland Hills, tying the record set in 2008; 89 at Bob Hope Airport, beating the 88 recorded in 2006; and 76 at Sandberg, tying a record set in 1995.

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