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Heavy Rain Expected in Greater L.A. Area This Afternoon

The rain is expected to be very heavy around 5 p.m.

Heavy rain is expected in the Greater L.A. Area during today's afternoon commute, thanks to a storm that could also produce thunderstorms, lightning and waterspouts before clearing out tomorrow, National Weather Service forecasters said.

There will be showers today head of the system's arrival -- light rain was reported in the Antelope Valley before dawn -- and early-morning commuters
may have to cope with slippery roads, they said. But that's nothing compared to
what's on tap for the afternoon, when the center of storm -- which was directly
west of Los Angeles this morning -- comes ashore, they said.

"Around 5 p.m., it's going to be bad," said NWS meteorologist Andrew Rorke. 

The NWS forecast between a quarter-inch and three quarters of an inch of rain in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties and between a half-inch and an inch from southern Santa Barbara to Los Angeles County. Higher amounts are possible across south-facing mountain slopes.

The rain is expected to taper off Wednesday night, with a chance of showers lingering through the day Thursday, according to an NWS advisory.

The snow level will start off at the 8,000-foot level tonight but drop down to between 6,000 and 7,000 by Thursday morning, according to the NWS.

"Very little snow accumulation is expected below 7,000 feet with this
system," an advisory said.

NWS forecasters said heavy rain tonight and during the overnight hours could cause flooding in poorly drained areas. They also cited the possibility of waterspouts, occasional downpours and what an advisory called "thunderstorms with dangerous cloud-to-ground lightning strikes."

"We've got an OK environment for thunderstorms," Rorke said.

Temperatures, forecast to reach the high 60s and low 70s today, will not be greatly affected by the storm, which Rorke said started out much further south than typical Pacific winter storms. Temperature highs will dip by a few degrees Thursday before a warming trend gets under way Friday.

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