Southern California kicked off Thursday with overcast skies and cooler temperatures, making way for rain showers and possible thunderstorms heading into the weekend.
Early morning temperatures were 10 to 15 degrees cooler than on Wednesday, the National Weather Service said, and a storm system just off the coast was expected to touch down late Thursday night and sweep inland on Friday, according to NWS meteorologist Brian Adams.
The storm is likely to bring light showers, mountain snow and gusty winds between 15 to 25 mph around the region late Thursday night.
There is also a chance of thunderstorms and hail overnight, Adams said.
The storm that will be responsible for light showers tonight into Friday is spinning several hundred miles off the coast of Point Conception. See that comma shape to the structure? That’s a classic example of a mid-latitude cyclone! It’s so mesmerizing! #CAwx #SoCal #LArain pic.twitter.com/44NlwznSNI
— NWS Los Angeles (@NWSLosAngeles) March 3, 2022
The wet weather is welcomed, said NWS meteorologist Eric Boldt, as parts of Southern California come out of their driest January and February combination on record. “We have a rain deficit,” Boldt said. “LAX and Van Nuys saw their driest months ever.”
A winter storm warning goes into effect from midnight Thursday to 10 p.m. on Saturday for Riverside and San Bernardino counties’ mountains, with heavy snow expected to begin accumulating Friday morning. Experts urged commuters to brace for difficult travel conditions.
By Friday afternoon, rainfall will likely come in lighter, passing showers, Adams said.
A second colder system will follow on Saturday, but with less snow and precipitation, according to Boldt. “We’re not expecting a ton of snow in the Santa Ana mountains, but maybe some snow on the mountain pass roads with rain mixed in on Saturday.”
Sunday will see temperatures return to warmer conditions, and continue out of the winter weather, Boldt said.
In Orange County, Adams said, inland temperatures will begin to reach into the upper 60s again beginning on Monday.