A seven-foot high tide swamped beaches and caused some flooding near marinas just after 8 a.m. Thursday. Sunset Beach saw PCH narrowed to one lane as salt
A seven-foot high tide swamped beaches and caused some flooding near marinas just after 8 a.m. Thursday. Sunset Beach saw PCH narrowed to one lane as salt water spilled over a sea wall and into the morning flow of traffic. (Sean HIller/Staff Photographer)

A blustery storm was expected to hammer the Southland Thursday, threatening gusty winds, colder temperatures and a wet morning commute. | PHOTOS

Rainfall totals were predicted to reach more than half an inch in the coastal and valley areas and more than an inch in the foothills and mountains, weather forecasters said.

The storm brought high tides that hit Sunset Beach around 8 a.m. Thursday, and forcing sections of Pacific Coast Hwy. to one lane in neighboring Seal Beach.

"We'll probably see the greatest amount of rainfall in a six-hour period between late (Wednesday) and early Thursday, with scattered showers possible throughout the day on Thursday," said AccuWeather meteorologist Ken Clark.

The National Weather Service predicted a slight chance of isolated thunderstorms throughout the day Thursday that could produce small hail, strong winds and dangerous driving conditions on mountain roads.

The storm will cause the snow line to fall to its lowest elevation of the season, about 3,500 feet, by Thursday morning, likely leaving snow on roadways, including Interstate 5 through The Grapevine, according to the NWS. Snow levels could rise up to 1 foot at the highest elevations and up to 4 inches between 4,000 and 5,000 feet.


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"The combination of wet snow and low temperatures in the mountains could create a dangerous situation for campers and outdoor enthusiasts that are not prepared for the change in the weather conditions," the NWS warned on its website.

Temperatures are expected to hover in the low 60s Thursday and could drop to the high 40s in the evening, according to the NWS.

Clark said Friday is expected to be mostly cool and dry with a slight chance of showers late in the evening and early Saturday morning.

Along with the rain, some coastal areas could see unusually high tides, called "king tides," that occur when the earth, moon and sun align, maximizing the gravitational tug.

Tides in Long Beach are expected to reach up to 7.3 feet Thursday, a level that hasn't been reached since 2008, according to a statement from the city of Long Beach.

City officials were encouraging residents near the coastline to prepare for possible flooding. Meanwhile, the city has opened its Emergency Operations Center to monitor rain and tide activity and city crews on Wednesday were inspecting catch basins and pump stations in known flooding areas in preparation for heavy rain.

People are advised to avoid swimming in the ocean and bays within 72 hours of a storm because of bacteria and other contaminants and should always avoid swimming in areas where there might be rip currents.

The city of Long Beach provided some tips in the event of flooding:

Prior to a flood, people should move important items to higher ground and use sandbags to barricade or divert water.

Turn off utilities if rising water is inside a structure. Do not shut off your electrical service while you are standing in pooled waters.

Be aware that floodwaters may carry raw sewage, chemical waste and other disease-spreading substances.

After a flood, check for structural damage, including any significant shifting, sagging, leaning, or cracking of walls or ceilings.

Do not enter the home until a professional has checked it.

Do not use open flames (candles, matches, etc.) until you can verify that there are no gas leaks.

If you suspect damage, avoid using the tap and toilets and call a plumber.

kelly.puente@presstelegram.com, 562-714-2181, twitter.com/kellypuentept