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New storms will bring low temperatures, snow and high winds to L.A. region

December 28, 2010 | 12:39 pm

Region braces for more

The rainstorm set to arrive in Southern California on Tuesday night will move through relatively quickly, but forecasters are warning about low temperatures and plunging snow levels.

“It’s a fast-mover,” said Stuart Seto, a weather specialist for the National Weather Service. “It’ll last about 24 hours, with major rains out in six hours.”

Seto said to expect about half an inch of rain on the coast and about 1 inch in the mountains. Heavy rain moving in at midnight will last about four to six hours.

Forecasters expect showers in the afternoon with winds of 15 to 25 miles per hour during the day, picking up to 50 mph Wednesday night. “If the temperature gets to 40 or below, wind chill comes into play ... on people’s skin,” Seto said. “Up in the mountain areas, that could get dangerous in terms of frostbite for people out there skiing at high elevations.”

Seto said the winds could be even more dangerous in the wake of last week’s storm because the rain softened the ground and trees were more likely to blow over. Unlike last week’s storm, this one will be much colder, with temperatures in the mid-50s Thursday and Friday and as low as 40 degrees overnight.

“It originated up in the Gulf of Alaska but is moving through the Pacific Northwest toward Seattle,” Seto said. “This one comes from the Arctic and it brings that cold air with it.”

Snow levels, now at 7,000 feet, are expected to drop to 5,000 feet Wednesday throughout the mountains. By Wednesday night, they could fall as low as 2,000 feet. Snow may move down onto Interstate 5 in the Grapevine and maybe onto the 14 Freeway at Soledad Canyon, Seto said.

Even if there isn’t snow on highways and streets, motorists should prepare for icy conditions with the incoming rain freezing over on some roads.

“There could be black ice, so people traveling on roads like the I-5 should slow down at night,” he said.


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Photo: Fog lingers in the Temecula Valley and the San Bernardino Mountains show off a mantle of fresh snow Tuesday from the powerful storms that swept across Southern California last week. Credit: Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times