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Storm front moves into Los Angeles, bringing rain, strong winds

March 17, 2012 |  8:15 am

A winter storm moving into the Southland was expected to bring several hours of steady rain followed by showers and possible thunderstorms, leading to perilous driving conditions, according to forecasters.

A storm front and strong winds were converging in Los Angeles County, bringing three to four hours of moderate rain beginning around 9 to 9:30 Saturday morning, said Bonnie Bartling, a weather specialist with the National Weather Service in Oxnard. Up to an inch and a half of rainfall is expected in the inland area, and the mountains and foothills could receive up to four inches, she said.

Forecasters said the rain would then taper into showers as cold air moves in behind the storm front, causing snow levels to drop. Snowfall totals of 12 to 18 inches are expected above 6,000 feet later in the day, Bartling said. There is also a slight chance of thunderstorms throughout the weekend, according to forecasts.

Bartling said the weather may cause hazardous driving conditions in the mountain areas, including  Interstate 5 and the 14 Freeway. Winter storm warnings were in effect in the mountains.

“With gusty winds and snow, you get blowing snow, and visibilities would be down to minimum,” she said. “Use great caution in winter weather conditions.”

Continuing effects of the storm will set the stage for a cold, wet Los Angeles Marathon on Sunday. High temperatures were expected to be in the mid- to upper 50s, 12 to 18 degrees below normal.

“Let’s just say I won’t be there, not even spectating,” Bartling said.

The weather was expected to clear beginning Tuesday, giving way to warmer temperatures.

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-- Victoria Kim

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