Southern California -- this just in

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Snow, rain, winds tonight, expected to continue through Thursday

December 6, 2009 |  7:20 am

Residents in the burn areas below the Angeles National Forest were filling sandbags and hoping for the best as two big winter storms were about to hit Southern California.

The cold, cloudy weather will bring scattered showers today, with more sustained rain expected to begin tonight and Monday morning. The heaviest rain from the first storm is expected Monday.

Snow levels could drop to 2,000 feet, and winds will pick up. The snow is expected to cause delays or closures of freeways and highways through mountain passes.

The second storm, forecast to arrive Thursday, could be strengthened by remnants of Typhoon Nida, which  once was a Category 5 storm in the western Pacific. This storm is expected to be weaker than originally thought.

AccuWeather is predicting 3 to 4 inches of rain, but it’s likely that number will increase in the mountain areas, which could lead to mudslides and flooding in foothill communities near the burn areas from the Station fire.

Scientists with the U.S. Geological Survey identified Pacoima Canyon, Big Tujunga Canyon, the Arroyo Seco, the West Fork of the San Gabriel River and Devils Canyon as being most at risk of mudslides.

Under certain conditions, mud flows could occur as far south as Foothill Boulevard in La Cañada Flintridge and La Crescenta, federal scientists said in a report.

-- Baxter Holmes