It may not be the storm of the century, but it’ll be a dangerous whopper for the Thanksgiving holiday period when a massive cold front brings snow, rain and thunderstorms to Southern California early Wednesday.
“Travel could be very difficult to impossible,” warned The National Weather Service in a statement. “The hazardous conditions could result in temporary road closures. Gusty winds could bring down tree branches. If you must travel, keep an extra flashlight, food, and water in your vehicle in case of an emergency.”
The storm will strike the Southland from early Wednesday to early Friday, generating a 24-inch accumulation of snow in the San Gabriel Mountains in L.A. County and thunderstorms in Orange County on Thanksgiving Day, the National Weather Service said Tuesday.
A winter storm warning signifying the expectation of highly challenging travel conditions will be in force from 4 a.m. Wednesday to 4 a.m. Friday in the San Gabriels.
Along with the 24 inches of snow accumulation at high elevations, most areas of the San Gabriels should get 6-12 inches while 3-6 inches is expected at the Grapevine, which should make travel on Interstate 5 difficult.
In the meantime, strong winds will buffet the region. In force until 3 a.m. was a high wind warning in the San Gabriel Mountains and a less serious wind advisory in the Antelope Valley, the Santa Monica Mountains Recreational Area and the Santa Clarita and San Fernando valleys.
Off the coast, a gale warning was in force until 3 Tuesday morning, indicating winds of 34 to 47 knots per hour.
Also in effect was a small craft advisory, meaning that inexperienced mariners, especially those operating smaller vessels, should avoid navigating in these conditions.
Along the coast, where a high surf advisory is to be in force until 7 a.m. and a less serious coastal flood advisory until 10 a.m., surf of 4-7 feet pounded the shore Tuesday morning, mainly at west-facing beaches.
“There is an increased risk for ocean drowning,” warned the NWS. “Rip currents can pull swimmers and surfers out to sea. Large breaking waves can cause injury, wash people off beaches and rocks and capsize small boats near shore.”
A less serious beach hazards statement will be force through Friday in Orange County, with surf of 3-6 feet expected.
In the San Gabriels, a high wind warning was in effect until 3 a.m. Tuesday.
In these conditions, “people should avoid being outside in forested areas and around trees and branches. If possible, remain in the lower levels of your home during the windstorm, and avoid windows. Use caution if you must drive,” urged the NWS.
According to the NWS, strong wind gusts were recorded over a wide area toward the end of the day Monday, including 69 mph at Warm Springs in the San Gabriels, 62 mph in the Antelope Valley, 49 mph at Saddle Peak in the Santa Monicas, 44 mph at Hollywood-Burbank Airport, and 41 mph along the L.A. County coast.
In Orange County, where winds of 15-25 mph were recorded along with 45-mph gusts, a wind advisory — which is less serious than a high wind warning — will be in effect until 9 a.m.
The NWS forecast sunny skies in L.A. County Tuesday and highs of 48 on Mount Wilson; 54 in Lancaster; 56 in Palmdale; 65 in Avalon, San Gabriel and Burbank; 66 in Woodland Hills; 67 in Long Beach and at LAX; and 68 in Downtown L.A. Temperatures will go down a few degrees amid rain Wednesdat and slight more amid showers on Thursday.
Sunny skies were also forecast in Orange County, along with highs of 44 on Santiago Peak; 57 on Ortega Highway at 2,600 feet; 62 in Fremont Canyon; 63 in Trabuco Canyon; 64 in Laguna Beach; 65 in Newport Beach, San Clementeand Yorba Linda; 66 in Mission Viejo; 67 in Anaheim; and 68 in Fullerton and Irvine. Temperatures will be up to six degrees cooler Wednesday amid rain and a few degrees lower on Thanksgiving amid thunderstorms.