The first of two Pacific storms expected this week targeted the Southland today, promising showers, fierce winds, high surf, low temperatures, and perilous driving conditions in local mountains.
NWS forecasters said there is a 50 percent chance of showers during daytime hours, dropping to 40 percent this evening. They said the storm is not well-defined and is expected to produce less than a quarter-inch of rain.
Along the coast, there will be a high risk of high rip currents today and over the next several days. A high surf advisory will be in force from 2 this afternoon until 8 a.m. Tuesday, while in Orange county it will start and end two hours later.
A gale warning will be in effect today across the Southland's costal waters. NWS forecasters said wind gusts of about 40 knots are possible, including in the inner waters.
The snow level in the Ventura and Los Angels county portions of the San Gabriel mountains generally will range today from 5,000 to 5,500 feet, than drop rapidly tonight to between 3,000 and 3,500 feet, according to the NWS.
An accumulation of between two and four inches of snow was expected above 4,000 feet, the agency said in an advisory. Additionally, "there will likely be strong west to northwest winds with this system, with gusts up to 50 miles per hour.
"The low snow levels combined with gusty winds will likely have an impact by this evening across Interstate 5 near The Grapevine," the advisory said.
Mountain areas will be swept by west winds of between 20 and 35 mph this afternoon, gusting to 45 mph. Tonight, forecasters are expecting northwest winds in the 25-35-mph range, gusting to 50 mph, with the strongest winds likely in the Interstate 5 corridor, according to an NWS advisory.
A winter weather advisory issued by the NWS to indicate that blowing snow, sleet and freezing rain will make travel difficult will be in force in the San Gabriels from noon today through tonight.
"Residents and travelers to the mountains should be prepared for hazardous winter weather conditions and possible road closures," it said. "Interstate 5 near The Grapevine and Highway 33 in the Ventura County mountains could be impacted by snow and gusty winds tonight."
The NWS urged those who have to brave mountain travel today to be wary of slippery roads and limited visibility. It urged them to carry chains for their tires, and extra water, food and clothing in case they become stranded.
Strong winds will also occur today in coastal and desert areas. A wind advisory, denoting an expectation of sustained winds of 35 mph or greater, will be in effect from noon today until 3 a.m. Tuesday in the Antelope Valley, where forecasters are expecting west winds of between 20 and 30 mph, gusting to 45 mph, from this afternoon through tonight.
This week's forecast called for temperatures to remain on the low side today, Tuesday and Wednesday, be eight or nine degrees higher on Thursday and Friday, climb down a few degrees on Saturday before returning to today's temperature levels on Sunday.
The NWS forecast highs today of 42 on Mount Wilson; 53 in Lancaster; 54 in Palmdale; 56 in Saugus; 57 in Pasadena and Burbank; 58 in Avalon, Anaheim and San Gabriel; 59 in Newport Beach, Woodland Hills and at LAX; 60 in downtown L.A.; and 61 in Long Beach.
Dry weather is expected Tuesday but a new storm will generate more showers on Wednesday, according to the NWS.