LOS ANGELES – April showers are arriving in California as a series of low-pressure systems scoots through the state, but the rain totals won't do much to ease five years of drought, forecasters said.
Light rain began falling Friday and showers should continue into Sunday, with a slight chance of thunderstorms. Downtown Los Angeles recorded about a fifth of an inch of rain on Friday.
The chance of thunderstorms in the mountains and deserts prompted the Los Angeles County Office of Emergency Management to issue lightning safety tips. They included a suggestion to unplug electronic equipment before a storm arrives and a warning that rubber-soled shoes and rubber tires don't provide protection from lightning.
The coast, deserts, valleys, foothills and mountains could see anywhere from a half-inch to 1 1/2 inches of rain as a Pacific weather systems moves over southwestern California on Saturday, when the heaviest showers will occur, the National Weather Service said.
The brunt of the system wasn't forecast to hit Southern California until afternoon or evening. Even Northern California won't get much rain, however, and some areas of the state won't see much more than glorified sprinkles, according to predictions.
Sports enthusiasts might be worrying, though. A wet Saturday could have implications for horses running in the $1 million Santa Anita Derby at Santa Anita Park in the Los Angeles suburb of Arcadia as well as the Formula DRIFT auto racing event on the streets of Long Beach.
Southern California could use any rain it gets. As of Friday, downtown LA had recorded less than half the normal 13.67 inches of rain that normally falls to date. San Diego has fared better, with a deficit of little more than 2 inches.
While the El Nino warming phenomenon in the Pacific Ocean brought rain and snow to California this winter, most of those storms hit northern areas including the Sierra Nevada while bypassing the southern half of the state.