Santa’s bringing rain to SoCal this Christmas

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A group of school children crosses the street in front of a Christmas Tree a rain falls on Dec. 15, 2016, in San Jose , Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

A group of school children crosses the street in front of a Christmas Tree a rain falls on Dec. 15, 2016, in San Jose , Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Southern California residents are getting rain for Christmas this year, with precipitation forecast from late Tuesday through Saturday.

A dry weather pattern will be in place Monday through Tuesday — which marks the first official day of winter — until a storm enters the region in the evening, bringing light rain to some areas, according to the National Weather Service in Los Angeles.

More rainfall is expected starting late Wednesday, with gusty winds and snow in the mountains through Thursday.

“A showery and unsettled weather pattern is expected for the end of the week,” the NWS said.

A total of about one to three inches of rain are forecast along the coast and valleys this week, and three to five inches in the foothills and mountains, according to the weather service.

South to southeast wind gusts are expected to blow at 30 to 50 mph, the NWS said.

Snow is expected at elevations of 7,000 feet through Thursday, and at 4,000 to 5,000 feet elevations Friday, with possible impact to major mountain passes on Christmas Eve. There may be mud and rocks slides on mountain roads.

“Holiday travelers should prepare for winter driving conditions by packing chains, warm winter clothes, and extra food and water,” the weather service said.

Commuters can expect delays on the road not just due to holiday travelers but also due to slick roadways and ponding water caused by the rainfall.

Recent burn area may experience debris flows, as was the case during last week’s storm.

The rain may put a damper on holiday plans as public health officials had urged residents to hold their Christmas gatherings outdoors to reduce risk of COVID spread as a winter surge appears to be brewing.

COVID-19 cases are on the rise throughout California as the omicron variant spreads, along with wave of the delta variant from the Thanksgiving holiday. Health officials say another surge could potentially strain the state’s health care system.

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