LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Heavy rain, snow, and strong winds were making travel and outdoor activities very difficult, as a strong winter storm hit the Southland and was expected to keep its grip on the area for many hours,, forecasters said.
Scattered light rain and showers fell in the Los Angeles Basin by late Christmas afternoon, but the brunt of the storm hit after 9 p.m. and was showing signs of continuing through mid-morning or early afternoon today, National Weather Service Meteorologist Kristin Stewart said.
“The system is pivoting on itself,” Stewart said. That means the rainfall could remain in the area longer than originally forecast.
The California Highway Patrol shut down the Golden State (5) Freeway between Lake Hughes Road and Grapevine Road over the Grapevine pass at about 10:30 p.m. Wednesday due to multiple stuck vehicles and heavy snowfall.
Throughout the early morning, the California Highway Patrol issued SigAlerts shutting down lanes on the Long Beach (710) and the Antelope Valley (14) freeways to allow flooding to subside in lanes. Snow closed the Grapevine at about 10:30 p.m. Wednesday.
The NWS reported that the deluge resulted in record-breaking rain in Long Beach on Christmas Day, with 1.03 inches through midnight.
A winter storm warning remained in effect until 10 p.m. tonight, she said.
Snow levels could drop to 2,500 feet and accumulations could be 1-2 feet at resorts and 6-12 inches around the I-5 Grapevine, with at least 1-2 inches on the road itself, forecasters said.
The low snow level also means Highway 14 and the Antelope Valley could have snow accumulation, Stewart said. Even Lancaster and Palmdale could get snow.
There could be 1-2 inches of rain in most areas during the storm, she said. The San Gabriel Mountains and foothills could get up to 4 inches of rain.
A wind advisory remained in effect until 10 p.m. tonight because strong east-southeast winds are expected with the storm. Winds of 15-25 mph are forecast in the L.A. Basin with gusts of 40-50 mph and mountain gusts could hit 50-60 mph, which could make travel treacherous.
A Flood Advisory for Los Angeles County was extended to 5:15 a.m.
L.A.-area temperatures were expected to drop into the mid-upper 40s along the coast and in Valleys with low-mid 30s in the mountains and Antelope Valley, Stewart said. Highs in the mid-upper 50s were forecast for the coast and inland today with upper 30s to mid-40's in the mountains.
Tonight's temperatures were expected to be in the upper 20s in the Antelope Valley, she said.
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