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Climate and Environment

Brace For Another Round Of Rain And Stormy Weather

Two people embrace on the edge of a dirt road with the Los Angeles skyline in the background and dramatic clouds overhead mixed with sunlight, turning the sky a hazy yellowish gray.
A couple embraces at an Elysian Park outlook after the storm on Jan. 5, 2023.
(Samanta Helou Hernandez
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We finally got a break from the rain, but expect more wet weather as soon as this weekend.

Light rain is forecast for Saturday night for some parts of Southern California, including western Santa Barbara County, the San Luis Obispo County, and areas to the north of that, according to National Weather Service meteorologist Eric Boldt.

Those areas will experience about an inch or two of rain over the weekend.

In Los Angeles County, expect mostly cloudy skies, except for some light showers along the western edges. But strong rains return Monday and Tuesday across Southern California.

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Monitoring For Mudslides

Scientists have been closely monitoring hillsides for signs of movement during our last run of storms, and they're especially wary of areas burned in recent wildfires.

Burn scars are at risk for mudslides when there's a quarter inch of rainfall within 15 minutes, said Matt Stephens, a research hydrologist with the U.S. Geological Survey.

"The debris flows can initiate within minutes of that high intensity rainfall. So there's very little lead time," Stephens said. "So it's very important for the community to stay tuned and alert to watches and warnings that are coming from the National Weather Service before the rainfall starts."

To help capture some of those dangerous, and deadly slides, catchbasins have been strategically built above and near hillside communities to capture debris before it spreads into communities below.

This latest storm dropped far less rain than originally anticipated, because the main front moved through more quickly than had been forecast.

High Surf Advisory

But the recent storm did leave behind some dangerous surf conditions.

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Ten to 15 foot waves slammed into piers in Los Angeles and Ventura counties on Friday morning. Surf, combined with the high tides, caused minor flooding in some beach parking lots and coastal roads, including along Pacific Coast Highway in Huntington Beach.

On Thursday night, the high surf and high winds caused structural damage to the Seal Beach Pier when a boat ramp used for off-shore oil rigs was pulled away from the pier.

"That forces us to close the pier so we can get structural engineers out to assess the stability of the pier and make sure it's safe for the public to be on," said Chris Pierce, the Marine Safety Lieutenant for the city of Seal Beach.

He said structural engineers will report back in a day or two on necessary repairs. Once that work is complete, the pier can reopen.

Later Friday, we'll see slightly smaller waves of five to eight feet. But Ryan Kittell with the National Weather Service said a high surf advisory will likely be in effect through the weekend.

Kittell urged surf-watchers to avoid climbing rocks and the jetties to get a better look.

"There's a history of waves — this big — sweeping people off the rocks and causing very dangerous situations," he said.

And a reminder about ocean water: high levels of bacteria typically follow storms. You'll want to avoid even wading in, for now.

Statewide Impacts

If you're traveling to northern or central California, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration warns that conditions will begin to deteriorate as soon as tonight.

A graphic headline Key Messages for Early January Atmospheric Rivers lists forecasts for the state of California, which a map alongside showing predicted levels of rainfall

The Bay Area was hit hard over the past week by an atmospheric river dubbed 'the Pineapple Express' and is bracing for more damage as a new storm is expected to dump as much of 10 inches of rain and snow on northern California into western Nevada.

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.