Storm warning issued for Los Angeles

A cold Pacific storm may bring showers and mountain snow tonight into Saturday, according to National Weather Service forecasts. If it rains, authorities are bracing for possible mudslides in the hills denuded by L.A. County's worst brush fire - the Station Fire.

This storm may bring brief heavy showers, and there's a slight chance of thunderstorms with hail. The threat of showers is expected to begin across San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties late this afternoon or evening. It's then expected to spread down the coast into Ventura and Los Angeles counties overnight.

Most areas are expected to receive less than a quarter inch of rain, but higher amounts are possible near heavier showers and thunderstorms. It could also lead to higher rainfall if the storm moves over water.

Snow levels are expected to fall to 4,000 feet later tonight into Saturday, with snow locally falling to around 3,500 feet in heavier showers and across north facing slopes.

There is also expected to be a return of gusty northeastern winds across Southern California Sunday into Monday, with the air becoming dryer Sunday into Monday leading to heightened fire weather concerns.

The Los Angeles Times recently reported that the Station fire, the largest in Los Angeles County's recorded history, has left charred hillsides that federal officials say pose an extreme mudslide risk if the area gets sustained rains.

Officials say the man-made bowls have become crucial to catching boulders, timber and heavy mud that otherwise might head toward homes.

"The debris basins are our front line of defense," said Arthur Vander Vis, a principal engineer in the county Department of Public Works' Flood Maintenance Division.

Scientists with the U.S. Geological Survey identified Pacoima Canyon, Big Tujunga Canyon, the Arroyo Seco, the West Fork of the San Gabriel River and Devils Canyon as being at most risk of mudslides.

Under certain conditions, mud flows could go as far south as Foothill Boulevard in La Cañada Flintridge and La Crescenta, the scientists said in a report.

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