LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Increasing showers are expected Saturday for the Southland coast, valleys and coastal slopes -- with a slight chance of thunderstorms -- but the looming storm is expected to bring much less rain than previously anticipated, forecasters said.
The bulk of the rain is now expected Saturday in the northern and central parts of the state, with gusty winds more likely in Southern California.
According to the National Weather Service, the storm system began developing over the Central Coast and will likely move slowly inland, with rain arriving in Ventura and Los Angeles counties.
"On Saturday, rain will continue across the region as a surface cold front approaches," the NWS said. "A slight chance of thunderstorms will continue over much of the forecast area Saturday morning. Moderate to locally heavy rain at times will be possible into Saturday morning."
Forecasters said the storm has the potential for isolated downpours with rainfall rates of up to 1.5 inches per hour, although most areas will likely see rates of a quarter- to half-inch per hour. Los Angeles County is expected to receive roughly one-third to an inch of rain by the time the storm tapers off Saturday night, although "local higher amounts will be possible."
"Minor flooding of low-lying areas and area roadways could develop ... Saturday morning, but if the higher rainfall rates do materialize there could be more significant flooding and this situation will be closely monitored," forecasters said.
Rain is expected to diminish by Saturday night, with only light precipitation.
Conditions are expected to turn windy on Sunday, with gusts potentially reaching 60 mph in areas including the Santa Monica Mountains and the Golden State (5) Freeway corridor. All other areas will also be hit with windy conditions, but with gusts generally staying in the 20-40 mph range, according to the NWS.
"While these winds will dry out and warm up the coasts and valleys, lingering moisture should pile up on the north slopes and bring a few rain showers up there," according to the NWS. "High temperatures across the region will be about 3 to 8 degrees below normal for most areas Saturday, then warm some on Sunday but still be a few degrees below normal."
A warming trend will continue into Monday, with temperatures "well above normal" in most areas through Wednesday.
Snow levels are expected to remain between 7,500 to 9,000 feet.