Cold storm brings high winds, showers to California on Friday, but weekend to clear up

LAKE VIEW TERRACE, CA - APRIL 13: Visitors to the Hansen Dam bike path faced cold winds and clouds on Saturday, April 13, 2024 in Lake View Terrace, CA. Rain is expected for the Southland this weekend. (Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times)
Visitors to the Hansen Dam bike path faced cold winds and clouds earlier this month. A cold front is expected to bring high winds and rain Friday. (Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times)

High winds continued to blast across Southern California on Friday, as a cold storm moved across the state, forecast to also bring some showers, thunderstorms and mountain snow — and the potential for power outages and hazardous air quality.

The quick-moving system is expected to clear out of the region by Saturday morning, making way for a warmer and more clear weekend, according to the National Weather Service.

But on Friday, the chance for significant rainfall across the Southland remained minor, though "the effect that everyone's going to notice is the wind,” said Todd Hall, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Oxnard.

Wind gusts early Friday had already hit 60 and 70 mph in some Coachella Valley locations, including across the San Gorgonio Pass on Interstate 10, according to the National Weather Service. Some of the highest gusts were recorded not far from where the Stagecoach country music festival was kicking off Friday in Indio.

Read more: Stagecoach 2024: Goldenvoice's Stacy Vee on country music's moment in the sun

That area — the Coachella Valley and eastern Riverside County — remained under a windblown dust advisory, warning of hazardous air quality, through late Friday, according to the South Coast Air Quality Management District, while much of the rest of the region had high wind advisories in effect.

The Coachella and Apple valleys as well as the Riverside and San Bernardino county mountains were forecast to see the highest winds for the region, with gusts up to 65 mph through late Friday, and sustained winds expected from 30 to 45 mph, according to the local wind advisory.

In the Antelope Valley and nearby foothills, as well as along the Interstate 5 corridor, including the Tejon Pass, peak winds were expected through early Saturday, with gusts reaching up to 60 mph, according to the National Weather Service's high wind warning. Forecasters advised that "damaging winds could blow down trees and power lines. Widespread power outages are possible. Travel will be difficult, especially for high profile vehicles."

Across Los Angeles County coasts and valleys, winds were expected to reach 20 to 45 mph Friday afternoon and evening, triggering a wind advisory through 9 p.m. In these areas, the weather service warned that "gusty winds will blow around unsecured objects. Tree limbs could be blown down and a few power outages may result."

The storm is also bringing a chance of light showers, mostly in the Southern California mountains and foothills, Hall said, including the chance for some snow showers along the highest peaks.

“In general, we’re going to see some showers developing across the higher terrain today,” Hall said Friday, but noted showers are possible across the region.

Farther south and east, San Diego County and parts of the Central Valley were most likely to see some rainfall Friday, according to the weather service, but rain totals were not expected to surpass a few tenths of an inch.

However, across the Sierra Nevada, snowfall could reach a couple inches, forecasts show.

Read more: 'Rivers in the sky' have drenched California, yet even more extreme rains are possible

A risk for thunderstorms will also develop in the Sierra and adjacent foothills Friday afternoon and evening, which brings the chance for lightning and some flooding, the weather service warned.

There's also a high surf advisory in effect for most western-facing beaches in Southern California from Friday afternoon through Saturday morning, with breaking waves reaching 4 to 8 feet and dangerous rip currents, the weather service warned.

But by Saturday, things should calm down — though Hall said some higher elevations could continue to see some lingering wind.

After Friday, "otherwise dry weather can be expected along with gradually warmer temperatures this weekend into the middle of next week," according to the National Weather Service forecast discussion.

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This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.