Up to a foot of snow fell in Southern California’s mountains as the first in a series of storms moved through California, bringing real winter weather after weeks of sporadic rain that has done little to ease drought.
Authorities urged drivers on Sunday to bring their tire chains to the San Gabriel and San Bernardino mountains east of Los Angeles after 10 inches of snow fell in Mount Baldy and up to 18 inches were recorded at the Mountain High ski resort in Wrightwood.
A hail storm struck the Santa Monica Mountains on Saturday, prompting the California Highway Patrol to warn drivers to slow down after officers responded to a few rollover accidents on Malibu Canyon.
It was a dramatic shift from a week ago, when parts of the region saw temperatures soar to the 90s. On Sunday, the region saw highs in the 50s.
Periods of rain and snow and much cooler temperatures were expected Sunday afternoon into Monday before a second and significantly stronger storm moves into the state, the National Weather Service said.
A winter storm warning was issued for Ventura and Los Angeles county mountains for Sunday night. Forecasters said blowing snow and icy roads could lead to road closures, including travel along Interstate 5 over the Grapevine.
Forecasters at the Sacramento-area weather office anticipated an abundance of snow in the Sierra Nevada between late Tuesday and Friday that may make travel through the mountains “very difficult to impossible.”
The next storm was also expected to bring heavy rain and mountain snow to northern and central portions of the state.
More than 95% of California has been experiencing drought conditions and the remainder is abnormally dry, the U.S. Drought Monitor reported in its weekly update Thursday.