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Cold Winter Storm Arrives, Prompts Fears of Floods & Mudslides

Most of the rainfall should exit the region by this evening or early Monday with rain and snow showers lingering in some mountain areas, forecasters said.(Thinkstock)
Most of the rainfall should exit the region by this evening or early Monday with rain and snow showers lingering in some mountain areas, forecasters said.(Thinkstock)

A cold winter storm was forecast to bring moderate to heavy rain to the Southland as early as today, sparking fears of flash floods and mudslides in recently burned areas.

Up to two inches of rain is expected in many areas of Los Angeles County and as many as three inches possible for southwest-facing foothills and mountains, according to the National Weather Service.

Light rain forecast for early today should give way to heavier precipitation in the afternoon, when the heaviest downpours are expected.

“Peak rainfall rates may exceed one-half inch per hour during this period bringing the potential for flash flooding with mud and debris flows in and near recently burned areas,” according to a weather service statement.

A flash flood watch for these areas was issued for the period covering 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. today.

High elevation snow and a slight chance of thunderstorms were forecast for today morning through the evening hours with damaging winds raking some areas overnight into Monday, according to the weather service.

Gusts up to 60 mph were forecast for mountain areas and up to 50 mph for coastal and valley regions, raising the fear of downed trees and power lines and power outages.

Most of the rainfall should exit the region by this evening or early Monday with rain and snow showers lingering in some mountain areas, forecasters said.

Snow levels will be around 7,000 feet, dropping to as low as 5,500 feet by late today, according to the National Weather Service. As cold air moves into the region tonight, snow levels could drop as low as 2,500 on some mountain slopes with minor accumulations in the Grapevine area, according to the NWS.

“There will likely be one to two feet of snow above 7,000 feet with lesser amounts for lower elevations,” according to a weather service statement.

Icy conditions and high winds should be expected on Interstate 5 tonight night into Monday morning and a winter storm warning has been issued for that period in the Los Angeles and Ventura county mountains.

High surf was expected to subside in Los Angeles County early today, but rise again later in the day, with breakers up to nine feet forecast by late today, building to as high as 10 feet by Monday. A high surf advisory was in effect for the period covering 10 p.m. today to 3 a.m. Tuesday.

Surf as high as 15 feet was expected on the west side of Catalina Island, according to the NWS.

Beach erosion and strong rip currents posing a serious drowning risk were likely, forecasters said.

Drier conditions and warmer temperatures are expected next week.

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