By CBSLA Staff

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Is that Santa or a storm headed for Southern California? Both – wet weather, and possibly snow, is on the way to the region just in time for Christmas.

Wednesday’s overcast skies will give way to light rain that will develop on Thursday, according to CBS2’s Evelyn Taft. Rain could be heavy at times Thursday night into Friday morning, but should taper off into the afternoon and make for just a damp Christmas Eve.

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This storm could produce up to two inches of rain for the valleys and coastal cities, and as much as five inches for the mountains and coastal slopes.

Those hoping for a white Christmas might get their wish – even though snowfall will remain above 8,000 feet through Thursday, it will fall as low as 4,000 feet on Sunday, the day after Christmas. For serious snow play, Taft says there could be significant accumulating snow above 7,000 feet starting as early as Wednesday.

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This weekend’s weather won’t necessarily be tranquil because it will be accompanied by gusty winds in the 20 to 40 mph range. Higher elevations could see gusts as high as 50 mph.

Residents living in burn scars from recent wildfires should also remain alert because of the risk of flash flooding and debris flows from heavy rain.

Precautions are already in place for areas especially susceptible to heavy rainfall. A flood watch was issued Thursday night and Friday morning for coastal and inland Orange County, while the Angeles National Forest has shut down several forest roads in anticipation of rain and low snow levels.

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Drivers headed to grandmother’s house for Christmas should be prepared for winter driving conditions on roads in higher elevations, as snow, ice, and blowing snow could reduce visibility. Snow could also impact heavily-traveled mountain passes such as the Grapevine on the 5 Freeway and the Cajon Pass along the 15 Freeway.