What's Worse Than SoCal Thanksgiving Traffic? Just Add A Winter Storm

Motorists maneuver their way along a rain soaked Highway 5. (Richard Vogel/AP)

In a stunning turn of events, the weather is expected to drop from the blisteringly hot temperatures that have refused to abate since July to somewhere in the 50s by Thanksgiving Day.

According to the National Weather Service, highs in downtown L.A. on Thursday could dip to 56 degrees.

Between now and then, and into the weekend, the greater Los Angeles area will likely see rain, possibly thunderstorms, and in some places, snow.

Showers arrived early Wednesday morning and could continue through the night, when temperatures may drop as low as 46 degrees. The wet weather is likely to continue into Thursday night and may begin to clear up Friday.

By the time the weather system leaves town, the coasts and valleys can expect 1-2 inches of rainfall, and the foothills and mountains may get from 1.5 to 3 inches.

The rain will also bring a chance of flash floods and debris flows in areas recently burned in wildfires, including in Santa Barbara, where the Cave Fire started just this Monday.

The Los Angeles Fire Department is asking anyone affected by recent fires to be especially careful over the next few days.

"We always emphasize ... that those that live near any of the recent burn areas, there's the potential for debris flow," said Margaret Stewart, an LAFD spokesperson, adding that sand bags should be put in place well in advance.

Stewart also said that wind associated with rainstorms pose a risk for downed trees or power lines.

"We always caution people not to touch those, [especially] if it's a live line, to stay clear," she said.

The rain isn't the only weather event that may hit SoCal. In the Grapevine area, snowfall could hit 3-6 inches; the Eastern San Gabriel Mountains could see up to 2 feet of the white stuff.

Snow levels could drop as low as 2,000 feet on Friday.

Flooding on lower elevation roadways, plus ice and snow on the 5 Freeway through the Grapevine as well as the 14 and 33 freeways, are also possible, forecasters warn.

If you're planning on driving anywhere to celebrate the holiday, be sure to check the forecast and the road conditions well in advance. Here are some tips to make your trip safer:

And, as if SoCal's Thanksgiving holiday traffic wasn't enough of a hellscape, the possible heavy rain, hail, thunder and snow could create "significant flight delays," forecasters predict.

High surf is also expected through Wednesday, so if you were planning a little pre-turkey dip in the Pacific, proceed with caution.

LAist's Ryan Fonseca contributed to this article.