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Out West: Developing storms won't relieve L.A. drought conditions

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High pressure likely to return following expected Southland storms.

Despite the approach of two significant Pacific storm fronts to Los Angeles, significant improvement to drought conditions in southern California isn't likely to occur.

It will likely take at least two months of average/normal rainfall to significantly offset drought conditions in Los Angeles, and this is not forthcoming according to all current prognostic weather information.

Two Pacific storms are approaching southern California at this time, and models have wavered during the past several days as to their strength. Present indications are that persistent high pressure which has served to either totally block or weaken all incoming weather systems will allow for significant rainfall to reach Los Angeles beginning Thursday.

Previous estimates had suggested up to as much as 4 or 5 inches of rain might occur in Los Angeles over a four day period. This figure has now been downgraded to 2 to 4 inches over the period from this Thursday through Sunday.

High pressure over the eastern Pacific has shifted further south, allowing for temporary movement of Pacific storms directly into California. Northern California will fare better than the south, having received more significant rainfall during the past two weeks from storms in Oregon and Washington.

The storms predicted for southern California will be followed once again by rebuilding high pressure; by early next week, rain-bearing Pacific storms will be shunted further north, resuming the pattern of dryness which has plagued much of the southwestern U.S. including Los Angeles.

Longer-range models suggest high pressure will not only block Pacific storms once again, but build inland over the western U.S. with a dry offshore Santa Ana-type wind pattern possible in southern California by the second weekend in March.

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