Los Angeles To Be Doused With Massive Winter Rains This Week

Jonathan Vankin

Los Angeles is the middle of one of the worst droughts in recent memory, but that is expected to finally change this week when two major rainstorms roll into Southern California, hitting Wednesday night then again on Friday.

The rain is likely to cause headaches and possible safety hazards for Los Angeles commuters, but nonetheless comes as a welcome relief to Californians for whom 2013 was the driest year on record.

In fact, forecasters say, the storm expected to drench the Los Angeles area starting Friday could, by itself, bring half as much rain to Downtown Los Angeles as that area experienced in all of 2013.

The Los Angeles region saw a paltry 3.6 inches of rain all of last year.

The weekend rainstorm, starting in Los Angeles Friday afternoon and pouring well into Saturday, is expected to dump as much as one to two inches of rain on the parched city. Areas by the ocean and in the valleys could see even more rainfall, possibly as much as four inches.

Southern California mountain-dwellers will need to put snow tires on their cars. Elevations above 6,000 feet are predicted to be blanketed under several inches of snowfall.

But first, a smaller but still-heavy storm will douse Los Angeles beginning Wednesday night and into Thursday. That steady rainfall is expected to bring about three-quarters of an inch to Los Angeles.

The last rainstorm of a comparable magnitude to hit Los Angeles came almost two years ago, on March 25, 2012. That storm brought 0.91 inches of rain.

As The Los Angeles Times noted, the first Hunger Games movie hit theaters that same weekend, the Republican presidential primaries were still underway and the state-of-the art iPhone was the 4S. That gives you an idea of how long the current Los Angeles drought has lasted.

The Los Angeles area has received a scant 1.2 inches of rain since last July 1, against an average of 10.45 inches for that time period. Temperatures in Los Angeles have been in the 70s in recent weeks, but the storms should push the thermometer down abut 10 degrees during the day.