Southland starts to dry out following two-day storm, though more rain expected next week

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LOS ANGELES (CNS) – Southern California was emerging from a storm today that drenched the region in two days of rain, snow and unusually cold temperatures.

Lingering showers were still possible in some areas Friday, but the National Weather Service said the rain is largely gone until Wednesday, when another storm is forecast to move in.

A winter storm warning for difficult travel conditions in the mountains expired, but officials still urged drivers to use caution.

In Orange County, a beach hazard statement, which is slightly less serious than a high surf advisory, remained in effect through 4 p.m., with the weather service forecasting surf of 4 to 7 feet.

Forecasters also warned that strong rip currents will make swimming and surfing dangerous.

Along the Los Angeles County coast, a small craft advisory issued Thursday was allowed to expire but a gale watch will be in force from Saturday morning through Sunday afternoon, with the weather service forecasting south winds of 25 to 35 knots and 40-knot gusts.

Los Angeles County health officials warned people planning to visit county beaches to avoid swimming, surfing and playing in ocean waters around discharging storm drains, creeks, and rivers, through at least Monday morning.

Temperatures remained below normal on Friday, when the high in downtown Los Angeles was 59 degrees. Downtown highs are forecast to be 58 degrees Saturday, 64 on Sunday and 67 on Monday.

Friday’s high in Anaheim was 57, where the forecast called for highs of 59 on Saturday, 65 on Sunday and 69 on Monday.

The storm had closed the Grapevine in both directions for much of Thanksgiving Day after thick snow flurries fell on Interstate 5, but the road was reopened Thursday night.

Southland mountains areas accumulated 6 to 12 inches of snow since the storm moved in Wednesday.

The weather also prompted city and county officials in Los Angeles to open 24-hour shelters early for the homeless to escape the cold and rain. More than 500 new emergency shelter beds opened Wednesday in Los Angeles, with more opening across the city Thursday and Friday. Countywide, the Board of Supervisors voted to open seven shelters early, all of them by Friday.

On Thursday, 2.17 inches of rain were reported at Long Beach Airport, 1.8 inches at the San Gabriel Dam, 1.6 inches in El Monte, 1.25 inches in Van Nuys, 1.14 inches at Los Angeles City College, 1.01 inches in Malibu, 0.99 of an inch in Bel Air, 0.87 of an inch in Santa Monica and 0.78 of an inch at Los Angeles International Airport.

The amount of rain in Long Beach was a record for a Nov. 28, topping previous record of 1.93 inches set in 1970.

In Orange County, Coto de Caza led with 2.65 inches, while 2.52 inches fell on both Huntington Beach and Lower Oso Creek, 1.97 inches at Laguna Beach, 1.87 inches at John Wayne Airport, 1.83 inches in Santa Ana 1.83 and 0.91 of an inch in Corona del Mar.

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