LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Light rain generated by the first of four successive storms expected this week hit the Southland today - triggering a spike in road accidents - as high surf began pounding the coastline, creating dangerous rip currents.
Southern California will experience wet weather through Sunday night, National Weather Service forecasters said.
"A moist southwesterly flow" resulting from a storm that arrived Wednesday "will continue to generate light showers today and tonight," according to an NWS advisory."On Friday, one system will sweep across the area, followed by a second on Saturday, then a third system on Sunday."
According to the California Highway Patrol, there were 188 accidents between midnight and 8:30 a.m. on L.A. County freeways, compared with 36 accidents during that time frame a week ago, when it did not rain.
Between today and Sunday night, the storms are expected to produce between a quarter and three-quarters of an inch of rain in coastal and valley areas, and between three-quarters of an inch and 1.5 inches in the foothills and mountains, NWS forecasters said. The snow level, meanwhile, will remain high - above 8,000 feet.
A high surf advisory that went into effect at 6 this morning will remain in force until 10 p.m. Sunday in Los Angeles County and until 1 p.m.
Monday in Orange County, where sets of up to 12 feet are possible, forecasters said.
The surf results from a huge swell being generated by two storms - one in the north central Pacific, the other in the eastern Pacific. The strongest surf will be Friday and Saturday, according to the NWS.
"Surf and swell conditions will be hazardous to anyone entering the water from very early Thursday morning through this weekend, with dangerous rip current expected," an NWS advisory said. "Minor beach erosion and localized flooding of low-lying areas may also occur..."
Temperatures highs, meanwhile, generally will be in the mid-60s today and throughout the rainy period, rise a few degrees Monday amid dry weather and partly cloudy skies, then revert to springtime levels Tuesday, reaching the mid-
70s under bright sunshine throughout the Greater L.A. area.