A fast-moving cold front is expected to speed through Southern California today, bringing wet weather, powerful winds and the potential for flash flooding in hillside areas charred by recent wildfires.
The chance of precipitation is greatest in mountain areas, where the snow level is likely to drop to 4,500 feet by the end of the storm. Up to 6 inches of snow is expected, according to the National Weather Service. Forecasters said there was a 40% chance of showers -- mainly in the morning -- in the coastal areas and valleys. Scattered showers could also occur throughout the afternoon.
For the rain- and snow-wary, the good news is that any downpour should be brief. The cold front, which originated in the Gulf of Alaska, "is moving so fast that, although there's an abundant amount of precipitation with it, it won't drop that much" in the Southland, said Bill Hoffer, a spokesman in the weather service's Oxnard office. He said rainfall totals should range from one-half to 1 inch.
Along with the flash flood warnings and a high surf advisory, weather officials also issued high wind watches or warnings for most valley and mountain areas in Los Angeles and Ventura counties. Sustained winds are predicted to be 25 mph to 35 mph, with gusts expected to exceed 60 mph in some areas today. Even stronger winds are forecast for Thursday, with gusts over 70 mph.