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Rain expected to hit L.A. Wednesday afternoon; scattered showers Thursday, Friday, Saturday

March 23, 2011 | 12:43 pm

http://sat.wrh.noaa.gov/satellite/4km/WR/WV4.GIF

The National Weather Service on Wednesday issued a winter storm warning for Southern California, saying a series of storms will bear down beginning Wednesday afternoon.

Officials said showers should last through the evening and perhaps into early Thursday.

On Thursday, cloudy skies will give way to scattered showers in the afternoon. There is a 20% chance of rain Friday and Saturday.

The new storms come as California is recovering from record rains earlier this week.

All roads leading into Yosemite National Park are closed due to snow, ice, mudslides, fallen trees and downed power lines, according to Outposts, The Times' outdoors blog. The storm that moved through dumped more than 3-1/2 feet of snow during a 24-hour period in Yosemite Valley, Wawona and Crane Flat, and approximately nine inches in El Portal.

Meanwhile, officials were cleaning up new mudslides in Malibu overnight.

Officials also issued a snow warning, saying that moderate to locally heavy snowfalls were likely to hit Southern California mountains.

By Wednesday night, snow levels are expected to drop to about 3,500 feet, the Weather Service said. The most significant snowfalls will be Wednesday afternoon, with some areas receiving from 4 to 12 inches of new snow.

"As a result," the agency said, "Interstate 5 near the Grapevine will likely be impacted by accumulating snow."

Another storm is expected to bring snow and gusty winds to area mountains beginning Thursday afternoon, according to the Weather Service.

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-- Robert J. Lopez and Shelby Grad

twitter.com/LAJourno

Image: National Weather Service

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