Saturday's rainfall and a sharp drop in temps

A storm system out of the Gulf of Alaska hit the Southland on Saturday, bringing rainfall and a sharp drop in temperatures and threatening to complicate holiday travel plans for the weekend.

The system will manifest itself in two stages, National Weather Service meteorologist Dave Bruno said from his observation station in Oxnard. The first wave of rain arrived just after 1 p.m. today and likely will be over by midnight, he said, with a second wave expected late Sunday morning in the form of showers.

The rain is expected to let up later Sunday and be gone in time for that night's Hollywood Christmas Parade, which is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m.

How much rain the system will generate was uncertain, although Bruno said the volume was expected to be "not too heavy" -- between a quarter-inch and three-quarters of an inch of rain generally but possibly more than an inch in the foothills.

The storm might cause the snow level to drop to 4,500 feet, Bruno said. That could result in snowfall on Interstate 5 in the area of the Grapevine, he said.

With the storm's arrival, temperatures are dropping sharply -- between 10 and 13 degrees throughout Los Angeles and Orange counties. Downtown L.A, for example, dropped from 77 on Friday to 66 today, while Saugus went from 75 to 62.

Temperatures will fall another 6 degrees or so on Sunday. Sunny weather is expected to reappear Monday but temperatures will remain in the 60s as a mild warming trend gets underway.

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