Storms headed to Orange County

Nearly an inch of cool rain is expected to fall on Orange County this week as a pair of storms blow in Thursday and Saturday, according to weather forecasters.

Cloudy skies Thursday morning will yield moderate rain later in the day. A lull Friday, with light, scattered showers, will then give way to a round of heavier showers late Saturday, with snow possible at elevations above 6,500 feet.

The rain will bring relief from the recent hot weather. On Wednesday, temperatures were 10 to 15 degrees above normal in inland areas and 5 degrees above normal along the coast. By Saturday, temperatures will be near normal in Orange County and 5 to 10 degrees colder than average in some inland areas.

“You’re going to feel that cool air coming in,” said Larissa Johnson, a forecaster at the National Weather Service in San Diego.

Thursday’s storm will drop about a quarter of an inch of rain, while Saturday’s will bring half an inch in coastal areas.

Orange County averages about 13 inches of rain annually, almost all of it between October and May. Less than 5 inches of rain have fallen so far since October, putting the county at about 40 percent of normal, according to National Weather Service data. Dry conditions in February, normally one of the wettest months, played a major role in causing the parched conditions.

Last year at this time, more than 5 inches of rain had fallen, still far behind normal, but a bit better than this year.

The rain this week will do little to boost Orange County precipitation totals all the way to normal before the end of the rainy season. Forecasters expect the storms to pass quickly.

“You’ll see really heavy showers and they’ll move right through. It won’t be really prolonged rain,” Johnson said, adding that localized flooding would be an issue only if the storms lingered over flood-prone urban areas for 30 minutes to an hour or longer.

There’s a slight chance of thunder and lightning over the ocean Thursday, but no warnings as of Wednesday about dangerous wave conditions.

Contact the writer: Twitter: @aaronorlowski

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