A storm brought rain to the Southland Friday, but a bigger, colder front is expected Saturday and could trigger snowfall at low elevations, creating dangerous driving conditions on New year’s Eve in the San Gabriel Mountains and on the road to Las Vegas.
The low-pressure system that moved through the area Friday was only expected to produce about 0.7 inches of rain and have little impact in the mountains, where the snow level will remain at around 7,000 feet, according to the National Weather Service.
Forecasters did not predict “copious amounts of rain” out of the two storm systems but there could be some mud flows down slopes stripped by wildfires if thunderstorms develop, which is possible Saturday, said NWS meteorologist Curt Kaplan.
Some scattered showers were still possible Friday afternoon, but most of the attention was shifting to the next storm front.
The second system will be colder and again will trigger showers but have much greater impact in the San Gabriels, where, starting Saturday afternoon, it will spark snow showers at between 3,500 and 4,000 feet across mountain roads and passes, including the Interstate 5 Corridor between Gorman and The Grapevine, creating “dangerous driving conditions,” the NWS said.
A winter weather advisory will be in effect in the San Gabriels from 8 a.m. Saturday until midnight. East winds of between 15 and 25 mph gusting to 35 mph are in the forecast, but no wind advisories were immediately issued.
Between 3 and 6 inches of snow are expected above 6,000 feet, with up to 8 inches possible above 7,000 feet in the eastern San Gabriels, according to the NWS.
Snow and icy conditions are also expected on Interstate 15 through the Cajon Pass and mountain passes near the Nevada border Saturday, risking “hazardous wintry driving conditions.”
“Motorists should be prepared for hazardous driving conditions due to snow and ice-covered roads,” according to the NWS. “Check the latest road reports before departing. Keep an emergency kit in your vehicle which includes a flashlight, food and water, extra clothes and blankets, and tire chains.”
The NWS forecast showers in L.A. County Friday and highs of 53 degrees in Palmdale; 55 in Lancaster; 58 on Mount Wilson; 60 in Saugus; 63 in Burbank; 64 in Avalon, Pasadena and San Gabriel; 65 at LAX, Long Beach and in Woodland Hills; and 66 in downtown L.A. Saturday’s highs, again amid showers, will be between 8 and 10 degrees lower.
Showers were also forecast in Orange County, along with highs of 61 in Laguna Beach; 63 in Newport Beach, Mission Viejo, Yorba Linda and San Clemente; 64 in Fullerton and Anaheim; and 65 in Irvine. Saturday’s highs will slip to the high 50s in many communities.
Sunday — New Year’s Day — is forecast to be partly cloudy, with highs in the high 50s and low 60s. Similar weather will last at least through next Thursday, according to an NWS forecast.
—City News Service