LOS ANGELES (AP) — A winter storm brought pounding rain, lightning, snow and hail to Southern California on Sunday, bringing worries of serious flooding in some of the hardest-hit areas that didn’t appear to materialize.
The National Weather Service said showers were likely to linger until Monday morning when the cold low-pressure system moves out.
“Some areas will get a decent amount of rain. Other areas will get nothing,” said David Sweet, a meteorologist with the weather service’s Oxnard office.
The hardest rains came in Ventura County, where rains were falling at a rate of more than two inches per hour at one point early Sunday evening, the National Weather Service said.
Flash flood warnings were in effect for several places including an area stripped bare by last year’s Springs Fire in Camarillo, but the warning expired and the storm began dissipating without reports of serious problems.
Crews in the county were working to clean up a mudslide that shut down a stretch of the Pacific Coast Highway. The closure came just two days after a nearby 9-mile stretch of the highway reopened after a two-month shutdown.
Heavy rain drenched Santa Monica, Venice, Brentwood and other communities on the west side of Los Angeles County.
Hail fell on Venice, and plane pilots reported seeing funnel clouds over the ocean about 25 miles off Redondo Beach.
Rain and snow covered the rural and mountain areas of San Diego County. Nearly one-and-a-half inches of rain had fallen in an area near Julian and some three inches of snow had fallen on Palomar Mountain by the afternoon.
Closer to the coast, a car hydroplaned and its driver was killed along a rain-slick stretch of the 5 Freeway in Encinitas.
Along California’s central coast, San Luis Obispo was hit with heavy rain, pea-size hail and lightning.
Snow levels could drop as low as 3,500 feet, potentially dumping fresh powder on ski resorts and creating icy road conditions on heavy-traveled 5 Freeway near the Grapevine.
To the north, the Sierra Nevada received a welcome dose of snow Friday and Saturday with some resorts reporting 12 to 18 inches of snow.
Despite the wet weather, the latest rainfall was not expected to put a dent in the state’s drought, headed into a fourth year.
“We need several large, heavy rainstorms to even have an effect,” Sweet said.
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