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California

Cold storm to bring snow, ice to Southern California mountains; next week, it’ll be 80 in the valleys

A ramp to the 5 Freeway is closed at the Tejon Pass on Jan. 14, 2019.
A ramp to the 5 Freeway is closed at the Tejon Pass on Jan. 14, 2019. The area is expected to see similar conditions with Thursday’s storm.
(California Department of Transportation)

A cold storm will bring scattered showers and a dusting of snow to the Southland on Thursday, potentially creating hazardous driving conditions in the mountains.

Although it won’t pack near as much moisture as last weekend’s record-breaking affair, the latest storm will drop snow levels to as low as 2,500 feet — potentially bringing a few flurries to the Antelope Valley foothills and as much as 2 inches of powder to the 5 Freeway’s Grapevine corridor in the afternoon and evening.

“The main problem is icy roads,” said Joe Sirard, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Oxnard. In times of normal traffic on the Grapevine, that could cause travel delays.

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The chance of snow, combined with wind gusts of 30 to 40 mph, prompted the National Weather Service to issue a winter weather advisory for mountainous areas of Los Angeles and Ventura counties that is in effect until 11 p.m.

Across the region, the bulk of the snowfall is expected to be above 4,000 feet — with the potential of 4 to 6 inches above 6,500 feet, forecasts show.

The storm isn’t expected to bring much more than a sprinkling of rain to lower-lying areas, though Sirard said there was a “very slight chance” of a thunderstorm here or there.

Looking ahead, forecasts show the region largely getting warmer and drier in the near future.

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Temperatures are expected to climb in Los Angeles County early next week — potentially reaching the 70s along the coast and low 80s in the valleys by Wednesday.

“It’ll be nice to get into some milder weather for sure — at least in this meteorologist’s opinion,” Sirard said.

Clearer skies, however, will pause any possible rebound from the bone-dry start to the year that has left much of the state behind the eight ball in terms of precipitation.

The most recent U.S. Drought Monitor, released Thursday, showed 75.14% of California in at least abnormally dry conditions — including virtually all of Los Angeles County.

That’s a slight overall improvement from last week, when 75.36% of the state was deemed abnormally dry.


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