Storm clouds that clustered over Southern California mountains throughout Saturday brought some snow, but the chilly Pacific storm mostly skirted the region, resulting in minimal rainfall in the Los Angeles Basin and an otherwise cool, sunny day.
The storm, which came out of the north, hit in the early morning, resulting in 3 to 6 inches of snow in the mountain regions and along the Grapevine area of Interstate 5. Snow fell until the early afternoon, but decreased as the day warmed up.
Local ski resort operators greeted the blanket of snow with glee.
Chris Riddle, director of marketing for Big Bear Mountain Resorts, which includes Bear Mountain and Snow Summit, said 4 to 6 inches of snow had fallen at Big Bear.
“I expected a minor dusting at best,” Riddle said Saturday. “But lo and behold, when I woke up this morning, it was snowing real hard.”
Visitors driving up to the mountain were required to use chains, and traffic was slow-moving, Riddle said. “But we’re seeing a very strong volume, and very good skier and snowboarder interest,” he said. “There’s a lot of pent-up demand.”
It was the first time in four years that the resorts had received enough snow to allow them to open for the Thanksgiving weekend, Riddle said.
Officials at Mountain High Ski Resort in Wrightwood in the San Gabriel Mountains were equally uplifted by the snowfall.
“This is our first natural snowfall of the season, and it couldn’t have come at a better time than at Thanksgiving,” said Kim Hermon, Mountain High’s marketing manager.
Snow fell along the Grapevine section of I-5 before sunrise, and California Highway Patrol officers used traffic breaks and escorts to slow down motorists during the storm. No accidents were reported.
In the L.A. Basin, temperatures reached into the mid-60s but few raindrops were seen, said Bonnie Bartling, a weather specialist with the National Weather Service in Oxnard.
The storm mostly skirted the Los Angeles area and was headed southeast around sunset, she said.
The storm “sort of hit, and then it seemed to end up in San Diego County,” Bartling said. “They’re the ones who ended up with all the rain. We got minimal showers.”
With the storm behind, the area will see gusty Santa Ana winds today, Bartling said. Winds were expected to reach 60 mph in the mountains from 4 a.m. to noon today.
Winds in the L.A. Basin are expected to reach 30 mph and the high will be about 70 degrees, forecasters said.