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Surprise Storm Drops In on Its Way East

January 07, 1987|TED THACKREY JR. | Times Staff Writer

A storm system that built up suddenly off the central coast threw a backhanded slap of rain at Southern California on Tuesday before moving onward and inland toward Nevada.

In Santa Ana, .24 of an inch of rain fell in the four hours between 12:30 and 4:30 p.m., a spokesman for the Orange County Environmental Management Agency said.

It was wetter elsewhere: Santa Barbara reported .61 of an inch during the first few hours of the storm, while .47 fell at Pt. Mugu, .38 at Santa Monica and Los Angeles International Airport, .35 in Torrance, .32 in Woodland Hills and .29 in Westwood.

By late afternoon, Orange County police agencies were reporting an increase in what they termed "minor fender-benders" but no major accidents.

"We've had several accidents, but we usually get them with rainstorms," Irvine Police Sgt. Tom Hume said late Tuesday afternoon.

Locally heavy showers slowed afternoon freeway traffic for nearly half an hour in Central Los Angeles and in the San Fernando Valley, and the National Weather Service issued a travelers advisory for snow accompanied by gusty winds and poor visibility at resort levels in the San Bernardino and San Gabriel mountains.

Travelers advisories were also in effect for snow conditions in the Lake Tahoe area of Nevada. And coastal areas were warned of surf running five to six feet at most beaches from Zuma to San Diego.

Forecasters at the National Weather Service and at Earth Environment Service, a private weather service based in San Francisco, agreed that Orange County might see a few more showers overnight and this morning--but after that, there seemed a good chance of fair skies and slowly rising temperatures for the remainder of the week.

EES spokesman Cary Schudy said predictions were still a bit chancy, however.

"The upper air patterns that push surface weather systems across the eastern Pacific are rather weak right now," he said, "so everybody is having a lot of problems trying to make really accurate forecasts.

The high temperature Tuesday in Santa Ana was 58 degrees; in Newport Beach it was 59 degrees. Forecasters agreed that today ought to be five or six degrees warmer.

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