The first of two storms moved through Southern California Friday, bringing showers and isolated thunderstorms, as a second system was set to bring snow and cold for the final days of 2016 after several dry and warm days.
Light rain fell around most of the area Friday morning and lightning strikes were also spotted in Malibu. That system is expected to move out by Friday afternoon, but a second system arriving Saturday will bring colder temperatures and snow that might affect travel through mountain passes.
"Maybe we'll be adding a little bit of snow to those peaks by Saturday," said NBC4 forecaster David Biggar.
Some scattered showers were still possible Friday afternoon, but most of the attention was shifting to the next storm front.
The rest of the region will see light rain into Saturday afternoon. The second system will be colder and again will trigger showers but have much greater impact in the San Gabriel Mountains, where, starting Saturday afternoon, it will spark snow showers at between 3,500 and 4,000 feet across mountain roads and passes, including the Interstate 5 Corridor between Gorman and The Grapevine, creating dangerous driving conditions.
A winter weather advisory will be in effect in the San Gabriels from 8 a.m. Saturday until midnight. East winds of between 15 and 25 mph gusting to 35 mph are in the forecast, but no wind advisories were immediately issued. Between 3 and 6 inches of snow are expected above 6,000 feet, with up to 8 inches possible above 7,000 feet in the eastern San Gabriels.
Snow and icy conditions are also expected on Interstate 15 through the Cajon Pass and mountain passes near the Nevada border Saturday, risking hazardous wintry driving conditions.
Just as the recent strong El Nino ocean-warming phenomenon failed to bring rain to Southern California, the ocean-cooling known as La Nina hasn't lived up to expectations of drier than normal weather. Downtown Los Angeles has recorded 5.48 inches of rain since the Oct. 1 start of the water year -- nearly 2 inches above normal to date and more than five times more than had fallen by this time last year.
Dry conditions are expected for New Year's Day and the Rose Parade, which is on Monday in Pasadena.
In central and northern California, cold temperatures are expected with overnight readings in San Francisco dropping into the 40s this weekend. Temperatures in the 30s are possible in the Bay Area on Sunday, and some parts of Sonoma and Marin counties in the North Bay could see temperatures drop into the 20s on Monday and Tuesday.
In the San Joaquin Valley, citrus growers might start turning on their wind machines to keep their oranges and lemons from freezing next week, Fresno County Farm Bureau Executive Director Ryan Jacobsen said. Temperatures overnight Wednesday cold dip to 25 degrees, he said.
About 80 percent of California remains under drought, according to this week's Drought Monitor. The report released Thursday shows improvement over this time last year, when the entire state was under some level of drought.
About 18 percent of California, in its fifth year of drought, is under exceptional drought, the Monitor's most severe category. That figure was at nearly 45 percent at the end of last year.
Despite a stretch of dry days after Christmas, December has been one of LA's wettest months in years. Downtown LA has received 4 inches of rain in December, the most in any month since December 2010 and nearly twice its historical average.