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Rain, rain won't go away

December 27, 2010 |  8:06 am

Southern California won't dry out quite yet.

Another storm is on the way, set to arrive late Tuesday into Wednesday, say forecasters with the National Weather Service in Oxnard. The fast-moving system will drop about half an inch of rain in downtown Los Angeles and coastal areas, and up to 1.25 inches in the mountains, said Stuart Seto, a National Weather Service meteorologist.

Storm clouds will move out by Thursday, leaving New Year's Eve revelers with cool and dry conditions Friday, Seto said. Saturday's Rose Parade is also safe from raindrops, but another storm is expected to arrive on Sunday.

"Once we get into a winter pattern, every three or four days we get a new storm,'' Seto said.

The pace could pick up even more in January, February and March, typically the region's wettest months. Despite the heavy rainfall so far this month, forecasters are still calling for La Niña conditions to bring lighter-than-normal rainfall in the first quarter of the new year, Seto said.

"But we're already ahead of the game and hopefully we can stay there,'' he said. Since July, downtown Los Angeles has received 10.89 inches of rain. Average rainfall for the year is 15.14 inches.

Snow levels will drop slightly with the approaching storm, from 7,000 feet to 6,000 feet, Seto said. The Grapevine should remain clear of snowfall but will be buffeted by strong winds, he cautioned motorists.

Highs this week will be in the upper 50s to low 60s in the Los Angeles basin, dropping to the upper 30s and low 40s at night.

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-- Catherine Saillant

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