Scattered showers continued to douse the Southland Tuesday amid a winter storm warning prompted by dipping temperatures and the possibility of snow blanketing low-lying areas and creating dangerous driving conditions in northern reaches of Los Angeles County.
By midday, light snow was falling on Interstate 5 through the Grapevine, but traffic was so far unaffected. Forecasters warned that 2 to 4 inches of snow could fall on the Grapevine, with the storm lowering the snow level to as low as 2,000 feet.
Highway 14 through Soledad Canyon was also at risk of snow that could make driving hazardous, according to the National Weather Service.
“Showers will continue through this evening, with a chance for lingering showers over the northern slopes into early Wednesday,” according to the National Weather Service, which added that a winter storm warning, which denotes dangerous travel conditions, will be in effect until 4 a.m. Wednesday.
“Snow levels will lower to between 2,500 and 3,500 feet this morning, and eventually fall as low as 2,000 feet tonight. This will lead to an increasing threat of accumulating snow on some of the lower mountain passes … this morning through tonight. This would include the Interstate 5 corridor near The Grapevine, Highway 14 through Soledad Canyon, Highway 33 north of Ojai, Highway 154 through Santa Barbara county as well as highway 166 through the Cuyama Valley.
“South to southwest winds gusting between 35 and 45 mph will bring a threat of blowing and drifting snow, which will add to the travel difficulties.”
Between 8 and 14 inches of snow are expected to accumulate through early Wednesday above 7,000 feet, with 2-4 inches possible at 4,000 feet, including Interstate 5 near The Grapevine,” according to the NWS. “Lighter snow accumulation will be possible as low as 2,500 feet,” along with south-to-southwest wind gusts of 35-45 mph.
Around midday, a stretch of state Route 39 was closed near Azusa in the Angeles National Forest due to a mudslide. Caltrans officials said there was no immediate estimate on when the stretch would reopen.
The NWS urged anyone intending to travel in the mountains to plan for wintry travel conditions.
“Be prepared for significant reductions in visibility. The Interstate 5 Tejon Pass/Grapevine area will likely see delays due to periods of snow late Tuesday evening through Tuesday night. Highway 14 through Soledad Canyon could also be impacted with snow,” the statement said.
In the Antelope Valley, southwest winds 20 to 30 mph with gusts to 50 mph will continue through this evening, an NWS statement said.
“Gusty winds will make driving difficult, especially for high profile vehicles. This includes Highways 14 and 138, especially near the foothills,” warned an NWS statement. “When driving, use extra caution. Be prepared for sudden gusty cross winds.”
Along the L.A County coast, a beach hazard statement, which is marginally less serious than a high surf advisory, will be in place through Wednesday afternoon. Dangerous rip currents are expected during that time as a result of elevated surf of 3-6 feet.
“There is an increased risk for ocean drowning. Rip currents can pull swimmers and surfers out to sea. Large breaking waves can wash people off beaches and rocks and capsize small boats near shore,” warned an NWS statement. “A Beach Hazards Statement is issued when threats such as rip currents, longshore currents, sneaker waves and other hazards create life-threatening conditions in the surf zone. Swim near a lifeguard. If caught in a rip current, relax and float. Don’t swim against the current. If able, swim in a direction following the shoreline. If unable to escape, face the shore and call or wave for help.”
The NWS said showers will continue through Tuesday, with some producing moderate to heavy downpours and low visibility.
“Although the chance for thunderstorms is minimal, some of these showers will be capable of producing waterspouts and briefly strong winds over gale force,” said the NWS. “As a result, weather over the coastal waters can quickly deteriorate and become dangerous at any time through late Tuesday. Mariners should actively monitor the weather conditions when at sea, and consider staying in safe harbor through at least Tuesday.”
The NWS forecast showers Tuesday and cool temperatures, including 34 degrees on Mount Wilson; 44 in Palmdale and Lancaster; 49 in Saugus; 52 in Pasadena; 53 in San Gabriel, Burbank and Woodland Hills; 55 in Downtown L.A.; and 56 in Long Beach, Avalon and at LAX.
Showers were also forecast in Orange County, along with highs of 32 on Santiago Peak, 44 on Ortega Highway at 2,600 feet; 48 in Fremont Canyon; 49 in Trabuco Canyon; 54 in Anaheim and Mission Viejo; 56 in Fullerton, Irvine and Newport Beach and 57 in Laguna Beach and San Clemente.
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