Another big storm heading toward California

December 6, 2014
Palm trees along La Jolla Shores in San Diego are seen through a window covered with rain drops as the area braces for an approaching storm Tuesday, Dec. 2, 2014. Heavy rain from a powerful Pacific storm swept through California on Tuesday, providing some relief from a three-year drought. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

Palm trees along La Jolla Shores in San Diego are seen through a window covered with rain drops as the area braces for an approaching storm Tuesday, Dec. 2, 2014. Heavy rain from a powerful Pacific storm swept through California on Tuesday, providing some relief from a three-year drought. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

LOS ANGELES (CNS) – As Southern California recovers from one record-breaking rain storm, another big one is on the horizon, the National Weather Service said today.

But this storm will be much colder than the last one, bringing the likelihood of snow as low as 4,000 feet above sea level, possibly affecting major freeway routes across mountain passes.

A storm, described as “strong and cold upper-level low pressure system” by the NWS, was poised to arrive Thursday or early Friday. The NWS warned of its approach in a Special Weather Station issued at mid-afternoon.

Uncertainty remained about the exact timing this far out, but the NWS said between 1-to-3 inches might fall in the flatlands and valleys of Southern California.

Rainfall rates of a half inch per hour might be experienced at the height of the storm, and thunderstorms are also possible.

If the storm arrives Thursday morning, the predicted snow level will be quite high: 8,500 feet. But that will lower to 4,000-to-5,000 feet by Friday as cold air reinforces the Pacific moisture.

The freeway passes north of Santa Clarita and San Bernardino are just about 4,100 feet.

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