MALIBU―Although Tropical Storm Dolores is not expected to make landfall in California, there is a strong possibility of thunderstorms along with dangerous surf and possible flash floods.

Dolores became a Category 4 hurricane earlier this week as it intensified off the coast of Mexico.  According to the National Hurricane Center, hurricanes in this category generally cause catastrophic damage, with predicted sustained wind speeds of between 111 to 129 miles per hour.

As the storm began to turn northwest away from land and into cooler waters, it lessened and was downgraded to a tropical storm. It is expected to be further downgraded to a tropical depression as it continues to move north.

Dolores’ impact is expected to be felt throughout the Southland. Officials warn of dangerous surf and rip currents along the coast. This comes on the heels of a bout of dangerous surf last weekend that left one swimmer dead and several more having to be helped to safety. Officials caution inexperienced swimmers to stay out of the water.

Thunderstorms are also expected as a result of Dolores. Although the chances of rain are only between 20 to 30 percent, many are hopeful that rain and high humidity will help fire crews battling the fire that broke out near the Cajon Pass on Friday, which engulfed several cars and homes in a matter of hours.

Rain from thunderstorms would be a welcome sight to residents and fire crews, thunderstorms also come with the possibility of lightning strikes; a particularly dangerous possibility in the drought-stricken Southland. Officials also warn of the possibility of flash floods throughout the weekend.

The tropical storm is expected to impact Southern California beginning some time late Friday and persist through Tuesday afternoon. The strongest weather will likely come early Sunday morning and last through Monday. The surf is expected to be especially dangerous on south-facing beaches as Dolores travels north up the coast.