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Santa Monica’s annual May Gray weather has settled over the city but while the traditional pattern doesn’t usually bring rain (fog and drizzle are common), forecasters are warning the weather could take a turn for the worse in coming day.

The National Weather Service has forecast low temperatures for the nearby mountain areas and thunderstorms are possible Thursday. The Los Angeles County Health Office has issued a Cold Weather Alert for the Los Angeles County Mountain areas on Thursday, May 16 through Friday, May 17, and Sunday, May 19 through Monday, May 20. Wind chill temperatures are expected to be below 32 degrees Fahrenheit.

“Children, the elderly, and people with disabilities or special medical needs are especially vulnerable during cold weather. Extra precaution should be taken to ensure they don’t get too cold when they are outside,” said Muntu Davis, MD, MPH, Los Angeles County Health Officer. “There are places where people can go to stay warm, such as shelters or other public facilities. We also want to remind people not to use stoves, barbeques or ovens to heat their homes due to the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.”

The NWS forecast said rain began developing Wednesday in the Central Coast and will spread south.

“There will be periods of moderate rainfall early Thursday along with a slight chance of thunderstorms,” said the report. “Dry weather returns Friday then there is another chance of showers Saturday night.”

Santa Monica’s usually overcast Spring weather is caused by low clouds that form over the ocean and move inland overnight. The phenomenon is caused by a combination of factors including the normal formation of a marine layer (when cool air is trapped below warmer air), changes in local air pressure and appropriately cool water temperatures. Marine weather specific to the local area magnifies the impact, creating cloudy conditions that usually burn off later in the day but can persist into the evening. 

The Pacific storm forecast for this weekend is unusual for this time of year.

“Widespread rain is expected across the area, with a slight chance of thunderstorms which will be capable of producing brief heavy downpours and small hail,” said the NWS in an alert. “Rain totals are expected to be between 0.25 and 0.75 inches over the coasts and valleys. Up to 1 inch of rain is expected in the mountains, with local amounts up to 2 inches possible. Snow levels will be above 8,000 feet for most of the storm, but could drop between 5000 and 6000 ft at the tail end of the storm. Gusty southwesterly winds are likely through Thursday morning, with widespread gusty west winds Thursday afternoon and night. The main impacts with this storm system will be the potential for localized roadway and small stream flooding, travel delays, and downed tree limbs or power lines due to gusty winds.”

Officials said residents who live or travel through areas experiencing the cold snap should take precautions including dressing appropriately, keeping pets inside, checking on frail family/neighbors and using safe heating methods.

“Only use approved heaters, such as electric or natural gas heaters and fireplaces,” said a warning issued by the County. “Never use stoves, barbecues and ovens to heat your room or home, as these appliances can produce a deadly gas known as carbon monoxide that can collect inside your home. Install a carbon monoxide detector in your home to reduce the risk of poisoning.”

Los Angeles County residents and business owners, including people with disabilities and others with access and functional needs may also call 2-1-1 or visit for emergency preparedness information and other referral services 24 hours a day and seven days a week. For the deaf and hard of hearing, call the TDD line at 1-800-660-4026.

Santa Monica Forecast

  • Thursday: Rain and possibly a thunderstorm before 11 a.m. High near 64. Southeast wind 10 to 15 mph becoming west southwest in the morning. Winds could gust as high as 20 mph. Chance of precipitation is 90%.
  • Thursday Night: Mostly clear, with a low around 54. West southwest wind 10 to 15 mph becoming north northwest 5 to 10 mph in the evening.
  • Friday: Sunny, with a high near 67. Breezy, with a west southwest wind 15 to 20 mph.
  • Friday Night: Mostly clear, with a low around 55.
  • Saturday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 66.
  • Saturday Night: A slight chance of showers after 11pm. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 56.
  • Sunday: A slight chance of showers. Partly sunny, with a high near 65.
  • Sunday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 55.
  • Monday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 66.
  • Monday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 54.
  • Tuesday: A chance of rain. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 66.

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