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Up to 7 hours of heavy rain should hit L.A. area beginning this afternoon

February 18, 2011 |  1:13 pm

Recent Weather Story (click for larger image)

A powerful rainstorm capable of producing up to 6 inches of rain is set to barrel into Southern California Friday afternoon, producing thunder, lightning and heavy winds.

"A strong front will bring a four- to seven-hour period of heavy rain this afternoon into tonight," the National Weather Service said in a statement. "Numerous showers will continue across the region through Saturday night. There will be a chance of thunderstorms at anytime from this afternoon through Saturday night."

Rain is already falling in Northern California, and it is likely to hit the Southern California by the afternoon rush hour.

A flash-flood watch has been issued for mountain areas that have been scorched by wildfires in recent years.

The heaviest rainfall is expected to hit Santa Barbara and Ventura counties Friday afternoon and reach the Los Angeles area in the late afternoon and last until about midnight, the National Weather Service said.

The flash-flood watch was issued for areas that were burned by blazes such as the Station and Morris fires in the San Gabriel Mountains in 2009, the weather service said.

Those areas "will have the potential for flash flooding and debris flows," the agency said.


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Top image: National Weather Service prediction; bottom image: Satellite image of conditions at 12:30 p.m. Credit: National Weather Service