Cold Storm Brings Snow to Low Elevations; Prompts Snow Days for Some School Districts

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A cold storm brought rain and snow to parts of Southern California Thursday morning, even prompting the Morongo and Bear Valley school districts to close for snow days. Along with the snow, forecasters are calling for a chance of hail and thunderstorms throughout the day Thursday. Coastal and valley residents will likely see about a quarter of an inch of rain with this storm. Showers could continue into Friday morning, but skies are expected to dry out by Friday afternoon, according to the National Weather Service. Forecasters were expecting one to three inches of snow to fall in mountain areas above 2,500 feet, with up to 6 inches possible over the eastern San Gabriel Mountains. Snow fell in the Santa Monica Mountains above the Malibu coast, the Los Angeles County Fire Department air operations section showed in a video posted on Twitter. In the nearby celebrity haven of Calabasas, actor Jerry O’Connell recorded video of himself as snow fell on his car and quickly melted. “It is snowing in Calabasas — crazy,” he said. “Correct, that is snow!” the weather service said in response to a video posted from a school in suburban Thousand Oaks where white stuff was lightly falling. Officials were especially concerned about dangerous driving conditions on mountain roads and highways due to the low snow levels. Earlier, the storm coated large areas of desert northeast of Los Angeles, temporarily halting traffic on various state routes.

Grapevine snow

Snow did fall overnight along the 5 Freeway through the Grapevine area, prompting a shutdown of the major thoroughfare. Vehicles were being allowed through only with CHP escorts Thursday afternoon.w Video showed snow flurries in the Frazier Park area earlier Thursday morning, prompting officials and residents to be concerned about the possibility of black ice on the roadways. “If you’ve been up here for a while and you’re used to it, you still should take it seriously,” one driver said.

Cajon Pass snow

Drivers on the 15 Freeway through the Cajon Pass were dealing with similar conditions Thursday morning. Snow began falling during the early morning hours, and although traffic had begun to slow on the freeway by 6:30 a.m., the pass was still open. Caltrans vehicles were seen traveling through the area to keep ice from forming on the roads. A snow storm forced portions of the freeway to close on Monday.

Southern California Road Closures

The weather prompted numerous road closured throughout Los Angeles County, according to Caltrans. Snow closed heavily traveled 5 Freeway at the Grapevine until Caltrans crews could clear the roadway, allowing traffic to resume under Highway Patrol escorts. To the east, Interstate 15 over Cajon Pass remained open but with some slowing because of conditions. Angeles Crest Highway in the Angeles National Forest was shut down in both directions between Mt. Wilson Road and Upper Big Tujunga Road due to a rockslide, as well as between Krartka Ridge and Big Pines due to snow, the agency said. State Route 33 north of Ojai was shut down between Parker Road and Grapevine Road as a result of heavy snowfall, officials said. School was expected to resume as normal on Monday. San Gabriel Canyon Road in the Angeles National Forest north of the San Gabriel Valley was shut down in both directions from 2 miles north of Crystal Lake Road to Angeles Crest Highway due to mud and rock slides.

High Desert snow

“It’s beautiful,” said Kate Porter, a resident of the community of Joshua Tree . A foot of snow was reported in that area at Pioneertown, the National Weather Service said. Similar amounts were reported in the upper elevations of the San Bernardino and San Jacinto mountains. About an inch of snow could be seen Thursday morning blanketing the usually brown hillsides in the Anaverde Hills area of Palmdale. The region, which sits at about 2,600 feet, does see snow every few years. Forecasters with this storm expected some snow flurries as low as 1,500 feet.

School districts take snow day

An unusual snow day was event declared for the students in the Morongo Unified School District. Bear Valley Unified School District was also closed due to Thursday’s snow, and planned to remain closed Friday as well, officials announced. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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