Showers ushered in autumn early Tuesday night in Orange County, but the U.S. Weather Service said no rain is in today's forecast.
Cool temperatures and a cloudy sky, however, were expected to be reminders today that autumn has arrived on schedule in Southern California. High temperatures are predicted to be no warmer than the mid 70s in inland Orange County, and beach areas are expected to get no warmer than the upper 60s. Brisk breezes also are in today's forecast.
The rain in Orange County Tuesday night varied from light showers in inland areas to moderately heavy precipitation, punctuated by bursts of thunder and lightning, in the San Clemente area.
"The lightning started flashing over the Laguna Niguel area about 7:30 as I was driving home tonight," reported one motorist from San Clemente. "The rain got heavier as I drove south, and by Southern California standards this was a medium-sized rain in the south part of the county."
The California Highway Patrol office in Santa Ana, however, said the south county rain caused no traffic problems.
"Sitting in here in our office, we wouldn't even know there's been rain because we haven't had any reports of trouble," said a CHP dispatcher in Santa Ana about 8 p.m.
The dispatcher added that he had received reports of only light, scattered rainfall. Traffic tie-ups, which usually accompany the first rainfall of autumn, were noticeably absent Tuesday night, police said.
Tuesday's wet, cool weather came right on cue, the Weather Service noted. The autumnal equinox--when the sun crosses the equator, making night and day the same length in all parts of the world--occurred Tuesday, marking the formal beginning of fall. In Orange County, the daylight hours were marked by cloud buildups and strong, occasionally gusty, winds along the coast.
By 5:30 p.m., the clouds had begun dropping light rainfall at the Fullerton Airport, according to workers there. And within the next half hour, small amounts of rain were falling from Seal Beach southward in the Orange County coastal regions, said the Sheriff's Harbor Patrol.
Weather forecasters said the amount of rain, which also fell in parts of Los Angeles County, ranged from a trace in some areas to .25 inch in some higher, mountainous parts of the Southland.
Tuesday's high temperatures in Orange County ranged from 74 in San Juan Capistrano to 67 in Newport Beach. The low temperatures in those cities were 53 and 58, respectively.
Santa Ana, which is usually considerably warmer than the beach cities, had a high temperature Tuesday of only 69 degrees--cooler than the high of 72 recorded in Long Beach.