A winter-like storm that moved into Southern California Wednesday morning is likely to slow the afternoon drive with the season's first significant rainfall.
Expect a three- to six-hour period of steady rain Wednesday afternoon. Small cells ahead of the main system brought light rain to Santa Monica early Wednesday, and rain was already falling in coastal communites northwest of Los Angeles.
Light rain also was reported in the Canyon Country area early Wednesday.
The afternoon drive might be plagued by wet conditions.
"It is going to be wet everywhere by 4 p.m., into 5 and 6 p.m.," said NBC4 forecaster Byron Miranda. "The commute is going to be a mess."
Dangerous road conditions are possible immediately after the rain begins.
"Motorists should be alert for especially slippery roads due to accumulated oil on the asphalt, with many locations not seeing measurable rainfall since last spring,'' a Weather Service advisory stated.
The storm might bring between a half-inch and one inch of rain across the region. Two inches are possible on south- and southwest-facing mountain slopes.
Strong winds are likely ahead of the storm. The most powerful gusts are possible along the 5 Freeway corridor north of Los Angeles -- the Grapevine. A 60-foot tree fell onto a car Wednesday afternoon in Benedict Canyon but the 24-year-old woman inside had only minor injuries.
As for temperatures, the NWS forecast highs of 55 on Mount Wilson; 64 in Newhall, Palmdale and Lancaster; 65 in Anaheim and at LAX; 66 in Newport Beach, Pasadena, San Gabriel and Burbank; and 67 in Avalon, Long Beach, Woodland Hills and downtown L.A.
Rain might taper off by 7 p.m. The storm is expected to bring more rain and snow Thursday before conditions clear Friday.
Road crews were preparing for snow Tuesday near Big Bear. Snow accumulation is possible above 7,000 feet.
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