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Climate and Environment

Light Rain And Snow Coming To SoCal In The Next Few Days

A person walks along Ballona Creek as storm water runoff from a winter rain storm flows into the Pacific Ocean in Marina Del Rey on March 14, 2023.
A person walks along Ballona Creek as storm water runoff from a winter rain storm flows into the Pacific Ocean in Marina Del Rey on March 14, 2023.
(Patrick T. Fallon
AFP via Getty Images)
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Enjoy the break in the clouds while it lasts.

Another cold storm system from the Gulf of Alaska is making its way to Southern California, this time bringing lighter rain and notable snow totals.

This storm will bring two rounds of precipitation, with the first round starting Wednesday at 12:01 a.m. Ventura County could see rain as early as this evening.

The first round will bring light to moderate showers into late Wednesday morning. There will be a break in between rounds for most of Wednesday afternoon, with the heavier rainfall picking up in the evening.

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There is also a slight chance of thunderstorms starting Wednesday afternoon through Thursday morning. During that time, the rain could come down in heavy spurts and produce pea-sized hail, according to National Weather Service meteorologist Elizabeth Adams.

What about the snow?

The San Bernardino Mountains will see snowfall Tuesday night at the 5,000-foot level and will continue to rise as the precipitation develops. There's a winter storm watch in effect for that area. Adams warns of blanket-like conditions starting Wednesday evening as wind gusts are expected to reach up to 65 mph.

"The strong winds combined with the snowfall could lead to some difficult traveling conditions, some lowing and drifting snow and potentially some periods of white out conditions," Adams said. "So make sure that you're exercising caution when traveling through the mountain."

Above 5,000 feet, anywhere between 6 to 10 inches of snowfall is expected. The mountain peaks could see up to a foot or more of snow. Temperatures are going to plummet significantly, reaching up to mid 50s for most of SoCal. 

Looking ahead to Thursday morning, snow levels could reach as low as 3,000 to 4,500 feet. That could bring up to an inch of snow over major mountain passes like the Grapevine.

But the greater accumulation of snow will remain above 5,000 feet. Showers will linger into Thursday afternoon. The storm is expected to clear out by Thursday evening.

So far, last week's storm has produced some notable damaging results, from a pair of tornadoes touching L.A. and Santa Barbara counties to a collapsed hillside in Pacific Palisades.

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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.

Updated March 28, 2023 at 8:44 AM PDT
This story was updated with the latest details on the storm forecast.
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