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Slow-moving storm could drop heavy rain on L.A. area

February 16, 2011 |  9:16 pm

A cold, slow-moving storm is expected to hit the Los Angeles area Thursday night and linger through Saturday, causing possible thunderstorms and dropping up to 6 inches of rain in mountain areas, according to the National Weather Service.

The agency also predicts heavy surf Wednesday night to Thursday night. Waves from 10 to 15 feet are predicted for west-facing beaches.

Preliminary estimates Wednesday night showed that the storm could drop 1 to 2 inches in coastal and valley areas and 3 to 6 inches in the foothills and mountains Thursday through Saturday, the weather service said.

The downpours will be a result of the slow-moving nature of the storm, coupled with the possibility of thundershowers, said Bonnie Bartling of the weather service's Oxnard office.

"If the storm is staying over you and raining," she told The Times, "you're going to get more rain."

Snow levels are expected to drop to 3,000 feet, possibly affecting driving conditions on Interstate 5 near the Grapevine and the 14 Freeway in Soledad Canyon, according to the weather service.

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-- Robert J. Lopez