1st storm of winter season brings rain, hail and snow to Southern California

Local news

The first winter storm of the season arrived overnight — bringing rain, hail, snow and thunderstorms to Southern California.

Monday began with occasional heavy downpours that caused some flooding on roads and freeways. This led to the temporary closure of the southbound 5 Freeway in Sun Valley shortly before 5 a.m.

Most coastal and valley areas received about an inch of rain Monday, while southwest facing mountain areas got close to 2 inches, the National Weather Service said.

Since the rain kicked off late Sunday, more than 1.5 inches fell in downtown L.A. by Monday evening and upwards of 2 inches in some other areas including Agoura Hills and Sand Canyon, according to NWS.

Flooding slowed down drivers on the 170 Freeway in North Hollywood, aerial video from Sky5 showed.

Meanwhile, flurries dropped snow on the 5 Freeway in the Gorman area. The freeway remained open through the Grapevine, but officials warned that a closure was possible. They reminded travelers to carry a blanket, snacks, water and a phone charger in their car.

As the rainfall intensified in the afternoon, NWS issued a flood advisory for L.A. County and warned of possible debris flow in recently burned areas. The advisory expired around 7 p.m. as the downpours became less intense.

Firefighters used an inflatable boat to rescue a man and woman stranded by stormwater on a small island in the middle of the Los Angeles River north of downtown. Two people were also rescued from rushing water in Santa Ana.

Small hail accumulated in some areas, including Whittier, La Habra, Norwalk and even L.A. County beaches.

Video footage from a freelance photographer showed enough hail on the ground for vehicles to become stuck at Creek Park in La Mirada.

Snow fell to around the 3,500-foot level overnight. Six to 12 inches of snow were expected to fall above the 5,000-foot mark.

The Big Bear Mountain Resort expected up to 14 inches of snow by the end of the day.

Big Bear Mountain Resort released this photo of heavy snowfall on Dec. 28, 2020. (BBMR)
Big Bear Mountain Resort released this photo of heavy snowfall on Dec. 28, 2020. (BBMR)

The system also brought snow to the Sierra Nevada and showers to parts of Northern California on the heels of a Christmas Day storm.

Sunny skies and dry conditions were forecast to return on Tuesday.

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