Snow in the mountains will make driving difficult. Photo by S. Coleman courtesy National Weather Service
Snow in the mountains will make driving difficult. Photo by S. Coleman courtesy National Weather Service

Updated 9:40 p.m. March 1, 2015

A day of blustery and inconsistent weather — with some areas sunny and others sodden — ended with a very-strong thunderstorm bearing down on downtown Los Angeles and Hollywood.

The National Weather Service issued an alert at 9:18 p.m. Sunday, warning that its radar was tracking a line of strong thunderstorm cells from Hawthorne to near downtown Los Angeles.

The storms were dropping heavy rain and drifting to the north at 10 miles per hour. They were expected to hit Culver City and Hollywood by 9:45 p.m., and

Burbank and Studio City by 10 p.m.

The storms were capable of generating lightning, downpours and hail, the NWS warned. Wind gusts of 50 miles per hour were predicted.

Freeway lanes were flooded on the 105 and 110 freeways and other routes in the Watts area.

Earlier, a pilot radioed in reports of two waterspots some 16 miles south of Malibu’s Point Dume at 5 p.m. Another pilot reported spotting one funnel cloud 25 miles west-southwest of Redondo Beach, the same general area as the first report.

Radar showed light-to-moderate rainfall falling over western L.A. County and the Santa Rosa Valley of Ventura County at sunset, the National Weather Service office in Oxnard said.

The heaviest rain was in Ventura County, just west of the L.A. County line, the NWS said. A “heavy downpour” was spotted just north of the Ventura (101) Freeway near Camarillo, and heavy rain was falling on state Route 118 west of Moorpark.

State Route 1, the Pacific Coast Highway, remained closed Sunday, after a predawn mudslide brought fire debris onto the roadway, northwest of Mugu Rock. That’s beyond the stretch of roadway near Malibu that was closed for 77 days to repair mudslides and related coastal wave erosion.

Heavy rain, hail up to one-half inch and lightning was observed across the L.A. Basin, but some areas reported no rain at all.

Rain also fell in Marina Del Rey and surrounding coastal communities, as it was in portions of Orange County, including Anaheim, where Disneyland patrons and employees were forced to use umbrellas and don rain gear.

The storm — fueled by a cold low-pressure system — began its sweep into Southern California Saturday, bringing blustery winds from coastal regions to inland mountains ranges.

“A moist and unstable air mass in place from a cold upper low pressure system will bring showers and a slight chance of thunderstorms to the area through Monday,” the NWS said in a statement released at 2:09 p.m. “A weaker storm system will follow on its heels later Monday, allowing for lingering showers into early Tuesday.”

Dry and warmer weather was expected late Tuesday through Friday, the NWS said.

The weather service said approaching precipitation expected Sunday night through Monday could cause hazardous conditions on Interstate 5 over the Grapevine, and perhaps in the foothills near the Antelope Valley (14) Freeway.

Showers — and snow above 6,000 feet in elevation — were expected to increase in the mountains, with the snow level dropping to between 3,500 and 4,000 feet Sunday. Both the 5 and 15 freeways top out just above 4,100 feet.

Thunderstorms, thunder snow and hail storms are possible, NWS officials said.

Chain requirements were in effect overnight for Highway 243 near Idyllwild, and for the highways to and through the Big Bear and Lake Arrowhead resort areas.

— City News Service

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