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First day of spring brings warm weather -- for now

March 20, 2012 |  8:06 am

 In the wake of the biggest storm of the year, pleasant weather will arrive Tuesday in Southern California on the first day of spring.

Temperatures are expected to rise to about 67 degrees downtown Tuesday and then reach  71 Wednesday, giving Southern California a taste of sun before the March showers return this weekend. 

“We’ll be getting back to near normal temperatures with sunny skies, so it will feel at least a little bit like spring,” said meteorologist David Sweet of the National Weather Service.

But Sweet reminded residents that March is typically one of the most active months for rainfall, and more showers are on the way. The weather service projects a 40% chance of rain Saturday into Sunday and Sunday into Monday.

But weather specialists say this weak low-pressure system will bring only about a quarter-inch to a half-inch of rain, compared with last weekend’s storm, which pummeled the area with about double that amount.

Sweet said rainfall typically “drops off significantly” by April, paving the way for a pleasant spring season. He said this year has been drier than normal: Since July 1, Los Angeles has received only 5.98 inches of rain, compared to a year-to-date average of 12.99 inches.  

“In consideration of whatever fire season we might have this summer, the more rain we get, the better off we’ll be,” Sweet said. “When it rains, you stay inside, put a fire in the fireplace and make some popcorn. It’s not such a bad deal.”

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-- Matt Stevens

twitter.com/mattstevenslat

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