A light-to-moderate storm will likely bring some rain and snow to Southern California starting late Sunday through early next week into Christmas Day, but a larger storm later in the week could impact holiday travelers.
It was dry and brisk earlier this week in Southern California, with temperatures expected to warm up a bit from Friday to Saturday, according to the National Weather Service. But by mid-to-late Sunday, the region will start to cool down.
“We have a possibility of rain starting Sunday afternoon with the initial front that’ll move through, mostly light to moderate rain,” said Brandt Maxwell, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service. “More possibility of rain – with the best chance Monday, small chance Tuesday – of possible snow in the mountains, mainly at about 5,000 feet and maybe lower on Tuesday.”
The storm Sunday through early next week will bring up to an inch of rain total at lower elevations, Maxwell said, with a bit more for south and west-facing mountains. It was unclear exactly how much snow will fall in the mountains, he said.
“It’s pretty likely we’ll get snow,” Maxwell said. “But I’d say it wouldn’t be a surprise if some areas had 6 inches or more of snow.”
It was unclear how much, if any, precipitation will fall Christmas Day on Wednesday because of a larger storm coming in later into that week, according to Maxwell. But by Thursday, Dec. 19, he said there was a higher chance of rain and snow on Monday and Tuesday than Wednesday.
The storm could affect holiday travelers, but hopefully not nearly as much as it did on Thanksgiving, Maxwell said. That storm system brought a few inches of rain to coastal and inland areas, with snow falling at unusually low elevation areas – with temporary closures of San Bernardino mountain roads, Grapevine and Cajon Pass – creating chaos for holiday travelers.
“The fact that there will probably be rain leading up to Christmas could be an issue for people traveling,” Maxwell said. “It won’t be perfect, but it’ll definitely be less bad than Thanksgiving.”
However, he said heavier precipitation is expected to come later that week, possibly on Thursday or Friday. It was unclear how much rain and snow will come, but it could be substantial, according to Maxwell.
If the second storm’s precipitation does creep into Wednesday, it’ll likely come later in the day, National Weather Service meteorologist Lisa Phillips said. Whenever it hits, it could fall in the Grapevine.
“That could cause some holiday travel issues,” she said. “So just keep that in mind.”