Southern California to ring in 2023 with wet and windy New Year’s Eve

Southern Californians will ring in 2023 with another round of wet, unsettled weather, including heavy rainfall and strong winds that are likely hit hardest after sundown on New Year’s Eve, forecasters say.

The latest storm comes on the tail of recent rainy weather across the region.

While some spotty showers can be expected Friday, Dec. 30, rainfall will be heaviest starting Saturday evening, according to National Weather Service meteorologist Adam Roser. Roser said parts of the region, including Orange County and the Inland Empire, can generally expect total rainfall of about 3/4 to 1 inch.

Rainfall likely will be higher, around 1-3 inches, in the mountains and foothills, Roser added. Additionally, higher elevations like Big Bear may see an inch of snow.

San Bernardino and Ontario may also see heavier rainfall, Roser said, adding that north of I-10 will “be very wet.”

Burn scar areas in the Inland Empire may be susceptible to flooding amid the New Year’s Eve deluge, according to NWS meteorologist James Brotherton. He said burn scars from the 2020 El Dorado Fire in San Bernardino and September’s Fairview Fire may be among the  primary locations at risk of flooding.

Amid flooding during a September rainstorm in the Inland Empire, a woman died from debris flows. In November, one person died during floods in Ontario as evacuation orders were given for burn scar areas.

No flood watches have been issued yet, Brotherton said, but NWS will continue to monitor burn scar areas and issue warnings if needed.

Wind gusts of around 25-30 miles per hour may see from Irvine and Anaheim to Riverside, Roser said. An NWS map also showed isolated gusts of more than 50 mph forecasted for places like Big Bear Lake and even up to 70 mph in Wrightwood.

Given conditions aren’t set to let up until the morning of New Year’s Day, Roser recommended that “indoor is best” for New Year’s Eve celebrations.

Saturday will also be rainy in Los Angeles, NWS meteorologist Mike Wofford said. Like elsewhere in Southern California, the San Fernando Valley and Los Angeles Metropolitan areas are expected to see uniform rainfall, Wofford explained. He estimated about 1-2 inches of rain and wind gusts of about 25-35 mph could be seen across the county.

Temperatures won’t fall dramatically amid the rainstorm and will likely stick around the high 50s to low 60s typical for the season, he added.

New Year’s Day is likely to be dry for Los Angeles County, so the Pasadena Rose Parade and other celebrations are not expected to be affected by the storm system, Wofford added.

“By the time most people wake up Sunday morning, it will be gone,” Wofford said.

Southern California’s New Year’s Eve storm comes as a continuation of the “atmospheric river” weather systems that have caused recent deluges in the region, Wofford said. Unlike storms in recent months, however, this weather system comes from warm regions of the Pacific Ocean rather than Alaska or the Pacific Northwest, he explained.

This system may bring another bout of stormy weather into the middle of next week, according to Wofford, who said some showers could come as soon as Tuesday. It was still early, however, so Wofford said a formal forecast was not immediately available.

Chase Schwegel shoots baskets during a day at Friendship Circle camp in Irvine, CA, on Thursday, December 29, 2022. Friendship Circle offers social, recreational, and therapeutic programs for children with special needs. Each special child is paired with their trained volunteer. (Photo by Jeff Gritchen, Orange County Register/SCNG)

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