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Climate and Environment

LA Rain Is Making A Splash During Christmas Week

Snow-capped mountains stand behind the skyline of downtown Los Angeles.
Snow-capped mountains stand behind the skyline of downtown Los Angeles (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
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Residents who live near Los Angeles County's mountains will get to experience a white Christmas with a few inches of snow. In lower elevations, there will be more rain.

On Christmas Eve and Christmas, downtown L.A. will have light showers with 30% chance of rain.

Rain will be heaviest in Southern California overnight and into Christmas Eve morning, with half an inch of rain expected per hour in Orange County.

Good news: There won’t be too much rain after Friday morning. On Saturday night and Sunday morning, there will be more rain. Sunday will be dry.

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From Thursday through Sunday, we can expect coastal areas to get one to three inches of rain and mountain areas to get three to six inches.

The rain started Wednesday afternoon in northwest L.A. County. By Wednesday night, the chances of rain increased to 60%. On Thursday, there's an 80% chance of heavy rain although this storm won't bring as much water as the one we saw last week.

“(The rain) does not look as strong, which is good news, especially for urban areas,” says David Gomberg, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service.

Snow levels will graduate lower through the weekend. On Friday, there will be snow above 6,000 feet in the mountains, above 5,000 on Saturday, and 3,500 to 4,000 feet on Sunday.

On Thursday, there will only be rain in the mountains.

We’re slightly above normal rainfall — by approximately half an inch since Oct. 1 — which is “very good news,” Gomberg says.

Colder Weather During The Holiday Weekend

Temperatures were in the mid-60s Monday and Wednesday.

It got warmer on Tuesday, rising to the mid-60s and lower 70s.

From Thursday to Sunday, temperatures will be mainly in the 50s. In the mountains, it will get cooler in the 30s and 40s.

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Will We Have A Wet Winter?

Southern California's rainy season runs from December to March, which is when Los Angeles gets the majority of its rain most years.

“Southern California’s rain comes in clusters, meaning that you can have a couple weeks where it’s fairly wet, and then you can go sometimes a month or two where it’s very dry,” Gomberg says.

At this point, it’s hard to know if this will be a wet winter. We’re in a La Niña pattern, which statistically means it will be a drier winter for Southern California.

“We have to take the rain while we can,” Gomberg says.

People should watch out for water pooling on the roads during the storm as well as mud and debris flows near burn areas.

Per the National Weather Service’s recommendation, don't forget to grab your coat, beanie, scarf, and maybe gloves before heading out the door.

Stay warm, folks.

What questions do you have about Southern California?