Snow in Castaic
Snow in Southland example. Courtesy OnScene.TV

A cold storm brought more chilly temperatures, rain and snow to the Southland Wednesday, creating hazardous driving conditions in the northern reaches of Los Angeles County, where the Golden State (5) Freeway was closed through the Grapevine, stranding hundreds of motorists.

The 5 Freeway was closed at about 6 a.m. and continuing throughout the morning as snow accumulated on the roadway. Eventually the freeway was shuttered in both directions between Grapevine Road on the north and Parker Road in Castaic on the south. The California Highway Patrol reported as many as 3,000 vehicles were stuck on the roadway due to the closure.

The freeway remained closed until shortly before noon, when the CHP began escorting vehicles through the area. Motorists were advised to drive cautiously due to continued cold and icy conditions, as well as the heavy traffic caused by the hours-long closure.

The storm system that brought the cold temperatures and winter-like conditions slowly began dissipating Wednesday, with forecasters saying precipitation would taper off through the afternoon.

A winter weather advisory that had been in place in the Antelope Valley was allowed to expire at noon. The advisory will remain in place until 3 p.m. in the Los Angeles County mountains, excluding the Santa Monica range.

Forecasters said showers falling in the northern part of Los Angeles County would be winding down.

“Overall (precipitation) is expected to taper off today with dry weather tonight (Wednesday) and beyond,” according to the National Weather Service.

Temperatures, however, were expected to remain cool Wednesday, but “a warming trend will begin Thursday with periods of Santa Ana winds through the weekend,” according to the NWS.

Forecasters said the mountains could see snow accumulating up to 3 inches, with 5 inches possible in some localized areas. The snowy conditions were accompanied by winds gusting up to 45 mph.

Gusts reached 68 mph in Sierra Pelona West and 62 mph at the Ford Observatory. They were 58 mph in Lake Palmdale and 56 mph at Katee Lane in the Antelope Valley on Tuesday.

“This will be the coldest storm that we have seen so far this winter season, with the potential for widespread snow/ice impacts across many of our lower elevation passes which could make for difficult travel with potential delays or road closures,” NWS forecasters said earlier.

In Orange County, a frost advisory will be in effect until 8 a.m. Thursday for coastal and inland areas. A winter weather advisory will be in place until noon Wednesday for the Santa Ana Mountains and foothills.

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