Heavy rain and high winds are expected to continue through Wednesday, Jan. 11, in Southern California, with Irvine experiencing more than a half inch of rain within the last 24 hours.

In terms of local weather monitoring, the Orange County Public Works Department has introduced the ALERT tracking system — Automated Local Evaluation in Real Time — that provides up to date precipitation levels, by collecting data through rainfall and stream gage stations.

At 12:23 p.m. on Tuesday, ALERT indicated that the Irvine Lake Dam Precipitation monitor had detected 0.59 inches of rain falling within the last 12 hours, with 0.43 inches falling between 6 a.m. and 12 p.m.

On Monday, Jan. 9, OC Public Work indicated in a Facebook post that more than a half inch of rain was expected to arrive in the Silverado and Modjeska Canyon regions of the Santa Ana mountains.

“In the Bond Fire burn areas of Silverado Canyon, Williams Canyon and Modjeska Canyon, a heavy rainfall rate of up to about 0.7 inch per hour is expected between 6 a.m. and noon tomorrow, with rain expected to continue through the afternoon (about one-half inch per hour).”

Moving into Tuesday afternoon, the National Weather Service issued a flood watch and wind advisory for both Irvine and Silverado Canyon until 4 p.m. Tuesday. Irvine could see a possibility of thunderstorms, with gusty winds up to 40 mph. The agency also advised drivers not to drive on flooded roads, if encountered.

“Showers and possibly a thunderstorm before 5 p.m., then a slight chance of showers and thunderstorms after 5 p.m. High near 62. Southwest wind around 20 mph, with gusts as high as 30 mph. Chance of precipitation is 80%. New rainfall amounts between a tenth and quarter of an inch, except higher amounts possible in thunderstorms,” the NWS wind advisory read.

As rainfall continues in drought-riddled areas of Orange County, the National Weather Service said it was receiving many questions about the aspect of drought improvement. While the agency did not specifically mention year-to-date improvement metrics associated with rainfall, the current snowpack in the Sierra Nevada is “higher than anytime in history.”

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