Environment & Science

Storms bring flood watches, potential drought relief to LA

File: Rain floods a street in Pasadena. Starting Thursday morning, three waves of storm systems will bring between 2 and 5 inches of precipitation to the region, according to the National Weather Service.
File: Rain floods a street in Pasadena. Starting Thursday morning, three waves of storm systems will bring between 2 and 5 inches of precipitation to the region, according to the National Weather Service.
Maya Sugarman/KPCC

After several sunny days in Southern California, expect rainy, cloudy conditions starting Thursday through early next week.

Three waves of storm systems will bring between 2 and 5 inches of rain to the region, according to the National Weather Service. The first storm will hit Thursday, the second on Friday and the third on Sunday night.

On Wednesday afternoon, the NWS issued a flood watch for communities near the Fish and Sand Fire burn areas.

Brett Albright, a meteorologist with the NWS, told KPCC that residents in areas prone to flooding should stay vigilant and check online for flash flood warnings that could be issued over the next few days.

“Our soils are going to get much more saturated,” he said. “So we’ll start to look at flows on the drainage canals and river basins and stuff like that where we don’t normally see them.”

Albright said he expects the storm will lessen the severity of the drought in Southern California — to the applause of farmers — as well as bringing slightly cooler temperatures and snow. The city of Big Bear could get covered in as much as three feet of snow, Albright said.

Federal monitors announced last week that 42 percent of California has emerged from a five-year drought after several weeks of heavy rain, but the emergence is primarily in Northern California. Southern California remains in drought, Albright said.

 “This system will probably go a good ways into helping with that,” he said.