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Rain — with possible thunderstorms, hail — coming to Southern California

LOS ANGELES — Widespread rainfall is expected late Wednesday night or after midnight, and there’s a slight chance of thunderstorms Thursday morning accompanied by brief and heavy downpours and possibly small hail, forecasters said.

Between a quarter-inch and three-quarters of an inch is expected along the coast and in the valleys, and an inch is expected in the mountains, according to the National Weather Service.

The snow level in the San Gabriel mountains will drop to 6,000 feet, the NWS said, adding winter driving conditions — meaning highly challenging — will prevail in the mountains.

The weather service said rain is likely after midnight Wednesday, followed by rain and a slight chance of thunderstorms Thursday morning, showers in the afternoon and the evening, and sunny conditions Friday. Many rainfall records may be set Thursday, according to the NWS, and the morning commute could be rough.

Also expected are stiff winds — around 15 miles per hour during the daytime and evening hours Wednesday in Los Angeles, and up to 40 mph Thursday in the San Gabriels.

The NWS forecast mostly cloudy skies Wednesday and highs of 58 degrees on Mount Wilson; 65 in Avalon; 68 in Torrance and at LAX; 69 in San Pedro; 70 in Long Beach; 72 in Santa Clarita, Sherman Oaks, North Hollywood, Burbank and downtown L.A.; 73 in Pasadena, San Gabriel, Northridge, Van Nuys and Burbank; 74 in West Covina, Whittier and Woodland Hills; and 75 in Palmdale and Lancaster. Thursday’s highs will be a few degrees lower — up to 12 degrees in Lancaster — but with rain this time.

Partly cloudy skies are forecast in Orange County, along with highs of 58 on Santiago Peak; 64 on Ortega Highway at 2,600 feet and in San Clemente; 66 in Newport Beach; 67 in Laguna Beach; 70 in Fremont Canyon and Trabuco Canyon; 71 in Santa Ana, Yorba Linda and Mission Viejo; 72 in Anaheim and Irvine; and 73 in Fullerton. Showers and lower temperatures are forecast Thursday.

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