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Climate and Environment

Another Storm Is Coming Our Way. Here's What You Need To Know

A map of the California coast from Cambria to Long Beach shows different intensity of forecasted rainfall from lower levels in green to several inches and high in yellows and oranges.
Here are the rainfall totals forecast from Thursday (March 9) through Saturday (March 11)
(Courtesy NWS)
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Another storm is making its way into Southern California, where some areas will see rain as early as Thursday night.

How the storm is expected to roll out

Here's a breakdown of how the storm will play out across the region according to the National Weather Service.

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Los Angeles will see light showers across the region and the peak of the rain is expected to hit around Friday evening according to meteorologist Ryan Kittell. Expect some delays while traveling and minor flooding on the roads.

Snow will fall at higher elevations of 10,000 feet and according to Kittell, it's going to be relatively warm up in the mountains compared to the previous winter storm. That means the average temperatures will be in the 40 degree range rather than dropping to the 20 degree range.

Storm's origins

This warm storm system comes from the South near the tropics, compared to last month's winter storm that came from the northern Pacific region.

This warmer rain coming our way creates some issues to watch out for, including snow melt and flooding.

How will this affect mountain communities?

"As that rain hits the snow, you're gonna get snow melt and runoff from that snow melt. That water doesn't really have anywhere to go besides between the snow banks," according to Casey Oswant, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

Most of the rain will fall in the mountains between Friday night and Saturday morning, reaching up to two inches of rain in the San Bernardino mountains.

Oswant says mountain residents should prepare for flooding that could damage their property. There's also a risk of avalanches at elevations of 5,000 feet.

And, it's going to be windy up in the mountains, with wind speeds reaching up to 40 mph.

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Concerns about avalanches

What's to come for Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo

The National Weather Service warns of possible river flooding over in Santa Barbara County and along the San Luis Obispo coast.

How to stay safe in high winds

Safety tips from Southern California Edison
    • Watch for traffic signals that may be out. Approach those intersections as four-way stops.
    • Make sure you have a battery-operated radio and flashlights. Check the batteries to make sure they are fresh. Use flashlights for lighting during a power outage; do not use candles because they may pose a significant fire hazard.
    • If you’re in a vehicle with a fallen power line on it, stay in the vehicle and remain calm until help arrives. It is OK to use your cellphone to call 911. If you must leave the vehicle, remember to exit away from downed power lines and exit by jumping from the vehicle and landing with both feet together. You must not touch the vehicle and the ground at the same time. Then proceed away from the vehicle by shuffling and not picking up your feet until you are several yards away. 
    • Water and electricity don’t mix. Water is an excellent conductor of electricity. Do not step in or enter any water that a downed power line may be touching.
    • Do not use any equipment inside that is designed for outdoor heating or cooking. Such equipment can emit carbon monoxide and other toxic gases.
    • If you use a generator, place it outdoors and plug individual appliances directly into it, using a heavy-duty extension cord. Connecting generators directly to household circuits creates “backfeed,” which is dangerous to repair crews.
    • Leave the doors of your refrigerator and freezer closed to keep food as fresh as possible. Place blocks of ice inside to help keep food cold. Check food carefully for signs of spoilage. 
    • Check on your neighbors to make sure everyone is safe.

Tips to keep your heating bills down

  • State law requires residential units to have heating systems that can keep indoor temperatures at a minimum of 70 degrees. That means every dwelling unit and guest room offered for rent or lease should offer heating equipment, usually central air conditioning (A/C) or a wall heater. — Caitlin Hernández

  • Use heat smartly to save money: Cranking things like the A/C and wall heaters can be expensive. If money is tight, be judicious about how and when you use your utilities. For example, only use heaters at night or only set the thermostat to around 70 degrees.

  • Open and close those vents: If you have central A/C, look at where the vents are around your home. Are any open in places where you don’t stay long? Practice opening and closing those so warm air only goes where you need it (most vents should have a small toggle lever). Humidifiers can also help you warm things up — and it’s useful to add moisture into our dry air.

  • Adjust your wall heaters: If you have a wall heater, you can change the output by adjusting the knob (usually at the bottom). Since wall heaters can only warm the areas where they’re placed, it’s essential to close doors to rooms you won’t be in so hot air doesn’t get wasted.

  • Turn on your ceiling fan (really): If you have a ceiling fan, try turning it on. This sounds counterintuitive, but there’s science behind it. The direction a fan turns can push air in different directions, and since hot air floats up, you’ll want to move that around. Your fan should spin clockwise to create an updraft to circulate. Not all fans will have this option, though.

Additional storm resources

What questions do you have about the weather we're experiencing?
A massive winter storm is hitting Southern California. We're here to answer your questions.

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