U.S. Postal Service mail carrier M. Perez delivers mail amidst a light blanketing… (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles…)
The first Pacific storm of the season brought scattered showers and thunderstorms across the region Thursday, snarling traffic in urban areas and triggering flash floods and debris flows in several parts of Los Angeles County.
National Weather Service officials said the heaviest rain hit much of the eastern Los Angeles area and the San Gabriel Valley, where it created the potential for flash flooding as well as mudslides.
One to two inches of rain were recorded in those areas late Thursday afternoon, authorities said, and more showers were predicted through the evening, increasing the risk.
The California Highway Patrol reported widespread roadway flooding across the Los Angeles Basin and flash flooding with mud and debris flows in La Canada Flintridge, where fire crews positioned sand bags to direct water away from property.
The rainy conditions brought a rash of minor traffic accidents and caused delays for motorists across the region, especially during rush hour. Lightning strikes briefly interrupted service early Thursday morning on the Blue Line, the light rail route between Los Angeles and Long Beach.
In Irvine, police are trying to determine if the weather might have been a factor in a truck crash that dumped a load of 1,600 saltwater bass worth about $13,000 on a city street.
If the storm persists, it might complicate the movement of the space shuttle Endeavour to the California Science Center at Exposition Park near USC. The shuttle is scheduled to begin its 12-mile trip from Los Angeles International Airport early Friday morning.
The forecast for Thursday night and the early morning hours calls for mostly cloudy conditions, isolated thundershowers, light winds out of the southwest and a low of 58. The chance of rain is 50%.
National Weather Service officials said hail the size of marbles is expected in some areas along with heavy rain, potentially dangerous lightning and funnel clouds over coastal waters and along the immediate coast.
Snow of up to three inches is expected between 6,000 and 7,000 feet in the San Gabriel Mountains.
The storm is expected to be rather short-lived, however, as the low pressure system moves through the area. Friday's forecast calls for a 20% chance of rain and the possibility of lingering showers before noon, then mostly sunny skies with a high near 70.
The warming trend will continue through the weekend with sunny skies and a high of 74 on Saturday and 84 on Sunday. More of the same is forecast for early next week.