LOS ANGELES — Staying dry will give way to staying cool in California, as rain and wind are swiftly replaced by sunshine and higher temperatures, meteorologists said Monday.
Rain totals, which are well below normal, will benefit a little from the weekend storms that hit California, National Weather Service Meteorologist David Sweet said.
But forecasters say the rain wasn’t enough to make California normal.
Northern California took a drenching over the past five days, but totals are still about 50 percent less than what they should be for this time of year, forecaster Mark Strobin said.
“It’s been a very dry winter so far,” he said.
From Thursday to Monday morning, more than 4 inches of rain fell in Napa; Santa Rosa got nearly 7 inches; 2.5 inches fell on San Francisco; and 2 inches were reported at Oakland International Airport.
The Sierra Nevada finally had its first serious snowfall of the season.
“It was kind of late,” said Brian O’Hara, a NWS forecaster in the Reno, Nev., office.
The Sierra Nevada and Lake Tahoe typically get their snow in late November or early December, but the first good accumulation didn’t hit until this weekend, with ski resorts getting an average of 12 inches to 20 inches of snow, O’Hara said.
The Homewood Ski Resort on the west side of Lake Tahoe boasted 26 inches of snow.
O’Hara said the snow was preceded by two days of rain. When followed by snow, it usually bodes well for moisture the state needs to build its water supplies.
Between July 1 and Sunday, downtown Los Angeles recorded 4.44 inches of rain. Normal for this time of year is 6.55 inches, Sweet said, leaving a gap of 2.11 inches.
The storm was blamed for one death over the weekend. In Yosemite National Park, winds killed an employee when a tree fell on top of his cabin.
The storm moved south, arriving in Los Angeles early Monday. Throughout the state, the rain was being replaced by a high pressure system expected to bring a heat wave for Los Angeles.
By Wednesday, it will be 60 in San Francisco and over 80 in Los Angeles, Sweet said.
Wednesday and Thursday will be the warmest days of the week. Temperatures will drop to the mid-60s and low 70s in Los Angeles by Sunday. No rain is in the forecast, Sweet said.
A winter storm warning for Los Angeles County mountains lasted through Monday, with snow dropping to 5,000 feet and accumulations of 6 inches to 10 inches above 6,000 feet.
Drivers were warned about wind gusts as high as 50 mph, causing areas of blowing dust and reduced visibility in the Antelope Valley’s Lancaster and Palmdale areas, Sweet said.
Traffic accidents were the main byproducts of the storm in Los Angeles.
Between 5 a.m. and 10 a.m. Monday on Los Angeles County freeways, the California Highway Patrol reported 123 accidents, said Officer Francisco Villalobos. That compares to 60 accidents on Jan. 9, a rainless Monday, he said.
Despite the storms leaving the Los Angeles area, county health officials warn beachgoers to stay out of the water for 72 hours after a storm due to the risk of illness.