Cold Spring Storm to Bring Rain Across Southern California

Rain is possible through Friday and snow might fall at unseasonably low levels

A cold and unstable weather system will move into Southern California by late Thursday afternoon, bringing a chance of showers and thunderstorms.

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The unseasonably cold storm system out of British Columbia means there will an increased chance of showers from Thursday afternoon through Friday morning. The storm might also produce downpours, hail and waterspouts off the Southern California coast.

As for the morning drive, expect dry conditions in most areas.

"It's really just cloudy for your drive into work, but there will be some spotty showers," said NBC4 forecaster Crystal Egger. "Today is kind of hit-and-miss light rain."

The storm could also cause the snow level to dip to unseasonably low levels, around 5,000 feet, forecasters said. A few inches of snow is possible at resort levels as a result of the storm, which may be accompanied by winds of up to 50 mph in the mountains and Antelope Valley.

Some of the most severe conditions will be in Riverside County, where gusty winds continue to blow along the San Gorgonio Pass.

Rainfall amounts will vary, according to the NWS. Rainfall projections include .52 inches in downtown Los Angeles, .84 inches in Pomona and .35 inches in Long Beach.

Up to a half-inch per hour may be possible with any thunderstorm. National Weather Service forecasters predicted the low pressure system would bring .82 inches of rain to Idyllwild, .64 inches in Banning and .36 inches in Hemet, along with cooler and cloudy weather through Friday.

The rainfall, unusual for this time of year in California, comes as the state faces water conservations measures during a fourth year of drought. Reservoir levels are at critically low levels following another disappointing wet season that brought little snow to the Sierra Nevada Mountains, where spring runoff supplies water for millions of Californians.

A rare spring snowfall was reported early Thursday in the Sierras.

Gov. Jerry Brown's mandate to reduce urban water use by 25 percent to get through the drought has sent communities scrambling for solutions. The State Water Resources Control Board approved new restrictions earlier this week that include a mandatory target for each local water agency to reduce consumption.

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