Weak storm targets Southland

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LOS ANGELES (CNS) – A weak storm headed for the Southland today — the first day of Spring 2019 –and was on track to arrive later than expected, and with less moisture.

The storm originating in the southern gulf of Alaska should have reached the Southland last night, according to what forecasters had projected, but as of early this morning it remained parked off Northern California, said National Weather Service meteorologist Dave Bruno.

“You’ll need an umbrella at some point today,” he said, but it will be much later than had been anticipated, “probably this afternoon,” with the bulk of the system remaining up north, producing only scattered showers in the Southland.

“It’s not very impressive, not packing a tremendous amount of moisture,” he said of the storm, adding that no mud flows or debris runoffs are expected, even over areas that wildfires have stripped of vegetation.

The salient aspects of the weather today could turn out to be the high surf pounding the coast and the cooler-than-normal temperatures — about 6 degrees below normal in downtown L.A. and 3-5 degrees below normal in the San Fernando Valley, according to Bruno.

Forecasters said there remains uncertainty regarding rainfall amounts due to the expected showery nature of the storm and the possibility of thunderstorms. But in general, amounts should range between a tenth and a quarter of an inch in Los Angeles County, with a quarter-inch and a half-inch possible over points north. Up to an inch is possible if heavier showers or thunderstorms materialize.

“Due to the slow movement of the system, we could still see scattered showers anywhere on Thursday,” according to an NWS statement. Showers with a dusting of snow on mountain roads are possible on Thursday, forecasters said. Gusty northwest winds will create difficult driving conditions.

Along the L.A. County coast, a high surf advisory will be in force from 5 a.m. today until 3 p.m. Thursday amid surf of 4 to 7 feet. In Orange County, where a high surf advisory is scheduled from 1 p.m. today until 1 p.m. Friday, the coast will be hit by surf of 3-5 feet, with sets of 7 feet.

“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.”

The NWS urged beach goers to “swim near a lifeguard. If caught in a rip current, relax and float. Don’ts 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.”

The NWS forecast showers in L.A. County today and highs of 45 degrees on Mount Wilson; 58 in Avalon; 59 in Palmdale; 60 in Lancaster and Saugus; 63 in Burbank and at LAX; 64 in Long Beach, Pasadena and Woodland Hills; and 65 in Downtown L.A. Similar conditions are forecast Thursday.

Showers were also forecast in Orange County today, slong with highs of 41 degrees on Santiago Peak; 53 on Ortega Highway at 2,600 feet; 58 in Fremont and Trabuco Canyon; 59 in San Clemente; 60 in Laguna Beach and Yorba Linda; 61 in Newport Beach; 63 in Yorba Linda and Mission Viejo; 64 in Fullerton and Irvine; and 65 in Anaheim. Lower temperatures are expected Thursday.

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