Fast-moving Pacific storm lashes southland with rain and wind

Powerful winds lashed the Southland Thursday ahead of the departure of a fast-moving Pacific storm system.

The gusty south-to-southwest winds were forecast to persist into this morning, with 60-mile per hour gusts expected in the Antelope Valley and the mountains of Los Angeles and Ventura counties. Forecasters warned that winds this strong could knock down trees and power lines, triggering power outages, and make driving difficult.

The rain, which began showing up yesterday afternoon, should clear out between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m., said NWS meteorologist Andrew Rorke, adding that the system is projected to have generated between a half-inch and three quarters of an inch of rain by the time it moves on.

Dr. Jeffrey Gunzenhauser warned beachgoers not to use the water near storm drains, creeks and rivers in order to avoid bacteria, debris and trash.

The county's rain advisory will be in effect until 5 p.m. Saturday.

A high wind warning reflecting forecaster expectation of gusts of at least 58 mph will be in effect until 10 a.m. today in the Antelope Valley and San Gabriel Mountains, where winds of 25-40 mph are expected, along with 65-mph gusts and, near ridge tops, 75 mph.

A less serious wind advisory will be in force, also until 10 a.m., in the Santa Monica Mountains Recreational area and the Santa Clarita Valley. Winds of between 15 and 30 mph accompanied by 45-mph gusts are expected in the two areas, with gusts reaching 50 mph in the Santa Monicas.

Also scheduled is a high surf advisory from 4 p.m. today until 4 p.m. Friday along the L.A. County coastline, where breakers of 6 to 8 feet are expected.

"Large waves and strong rip currents will increase the risk of ocean drowning. Sneaker waves can suddenly wash people off of beaches and rock jetties. Minor beach erosion is possible,'' an NWS statement said.

Swimmers caught in a rip current are urged to swim parallel to shore until able to break free.

Additionally, a small craft advisory warning boaters of perilous conditions will be in effect from 3 p.m. today until 3 p.m. Saturday.

The NWS forecast highs of 57 on Mount Wilson and in Palmdale; 58 in Lancaster; 61 in Avalon; 64 in Saugus; 65 in Long Beach, Newport Beach, Laguna Beach and at LAX; 66 in San Clemente, San Gabriel and Burbank; 67 in downtown L.A., Pasadena and Woodland Hills; 68 in Fullerton, Anaheim and Irvine; and 71 in Yorba Linda.

Temperatures will be the same or slightly higher Friday, but under sunny skies, then increase steadily -- still under sunny skies -- reaching the mid 80s Monday and decreasing slightly Wednesday, according to NWS forecasters.

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