Winter storm bears down on Southland
LOS ANGELES (CNS) — The first winter storm of 2019 has moved into Southland for the weekend, bringing with it rain, snow and fears of flooding and mudslides on mountain slopes recently scorched by wildfires.
Forecasters estimated this storm will bring a halfinch to an inch of rainfall across the Southern California coast and valleys and more than double that amount in higher elevations, making it similar in size to the early December system that sent mud and rocks cascading onto roads and forcing evacuations in some areas.
The storm already has ushered in colder weather — Palmdale reached just 49 degrees Saturday, while Lancaster peaked at 51.
The strong Pacific system, originating in the Gulf of Alaska and predicted to batter portions of Northern California, began pouring into the Southland on Saturday and was expected to continue through today.
“A powerful storm will slam … with heavy rain, high winds, heavy snow as low as 3,000 feet, and beach hazards,” according to the National Weather Service, which issued a flash flood watch for areas recently burned by fires.
It’s part of a moderate El Niño weather pattern that experts said will continue to bring more precipitation to some regions of the state, with the outlook for the next few months indicating aboveaverage rainfall.
That’s welcome news for Southern ski resorts that may celebrate 4 to 8 inches of fresh powder this weekend, and up to three feet in the northern Sierra.