Storm brings rain, lightning to SoCal Wednesday

A storm unleashed rain for a second day Wednesday in Southern California, bringing fears of flash flooding for several areas hit by wildfires in Santa Barbara, Ventura and Los Angeles counties.

Widespread shower activity was expected to continue Wednesday morning and diminish by afternoon, according to the National Weather Serivce.

Lightning bolts illuminated the night sky from time to time Wednesday morning, and forecasters said the lightning would taper off.

The weather service issued a flash flood watch for all burn areas in Santa Barbara, Ventura and Los Angeles counties and said it would be in force until 11 a.m.

NWS forecasters said peak rainfall rates until the watch expires could range between three-quarters of an inch and an inch per hour. Any isolated thunderstorms could produce hourly rates of an inch-and-a-half of rain per hour, along with heavy 15-minute and 30-minute bursts of rainfall, they said.

Across Ventura and Los Angeles counties, the heaviest rainfall this morning could affect the Thomas, Hill, Woolsey, Stone, South, Creek and La Tuna burn scars. In Los Angeles County, the flash flood watch was in effect in Downtown L.A., metropolitan L.A., beach cities, the San Gabriel Mountains, and the Santa Clarita and San Fernando valleys.

Forecasters urged drivers to be especially cautious.

Also in effect Wednesday morning was a wind advisory scheduled to expire at noon in the San Gabriel Mountains, where south winds blew at between 20 and 30 miles per hour, with gusts of 50 and 60 mph, and the Antelope Valley, where the same conditions prevailed.

In coastal areas of Orange County, a beach hazard statement issued by the NWS forecast office in San Diego will be in force this morning because of the possibility of lightning at the beaches.

City News Service contributed to this report.