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First of back-to-back storms brings light rain ahead of more powerful system

The first of two storms this week is bringing light scattered showers to Southern California ahead of a second stronger system.

Overnight rain left roads wet for the morning drive, which was slowed in the San Fernando Valley by a crash on the 5 Freeway. The crash, reported at about 2:30 a.m., was on the northbound side of the road near Western Avenue in Burbank. No serious injuries were reported.

The showers are just a warm-up act for what’s to come.

“The heaviest rain is expected to happen Wednesday evening into Thursday,” said NBCLA forecaster Belen De Leon.

There will be little to no breaks in between the two storms. The back-to-back systems will bring the first significant rain of the wet season, which begins at the end of September in Southern California.

Storm No. 1

The first system moved into Ventura County around lunchtime Monday before moving south. Expect light showers throughout Tuesday.

The first storm will deliver less than a quarter inch of rain.

A flood watch will begin Tuesday night with possible flooding, especially in low-lying areas. The watch area includes the Los Angeles County coast, inland areas and Ventura County beaches.

There will be a risk for flash flooding in recently burned areas and the potential for rock slides and mudslides in
canyon and on mountain roadways.

“Any activity we see throughout the day is going to be very light,” De Leon said. “Wednesday, we start to see some heavier rain move into the picture.”

Daytime temperatures will drop into the low 60s in the Los Angeles area Tuesday through Friday. Overnight lows will generally be in the upper 40s and lower 50s throughout the Southland, but will dip into the 30s in some parts of the mountains and high desert.

Storm No. 2

The second system, fueled by an atmospheric river, will pack stronger punch will periods of heavy rain late Wednesday in to Thursday. Atmospheric rivers are long bands of moisture in the sky over the Pacific that act like a conveyor belt, fueling storms with that moisture as they move toward California.

Rainfall estimates are for 2 to 4 inches for most of Los Angeles County. Rainfall rates of 0.3 to 0.6 inches per hour are expected in some areas.

“This system is just going to sit, spin and bring a whole lot of rain,” De Leon said.

Rain will become more widespread Thursday, when thunderstorms are possible. Expect strong winds and the possibility of hail.

Rain is expected to diminish Friday with some lingering showers this weekend.

The second storm system could drop between 2 and 5 inches of rain, with the potential for 4 to 7 inches.

Snow levels are expected to remain above 8,000 feet, although snow is possible as low as 7,000 feet depending on how the storm tracks as it moves into the area.

The chance of rain increases by mid-week for Southern California.

Unlike past years, no part of California is in drought. At this time last year, 98 percent of the state was in moderate drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. Thirty-six percent of the state was in extreme drought, the second-most severe of the Monitor’s four drought categories.

Daytime temperatures will drop into the low 60s in the Los Angeles area Tuesday through Friday. Overnight lows will generally be in the upper 40s and lower 50s throughout the Southland, but will dip into the 30s in some parts of the mountains and high desert.

Thursday is the first day of winter.

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Source: NBC Los Angeles

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