California Snow Storm: The recent storm system in California has brought bizarre weather, with blizzards in the mountains, rain in the desert, and flooding near coastal cities. Southern California has been hit the hardest, with a historic blizzard warning still in effect across parts of the region, including Los Angeles.
The unique geography of Southern California, which includes massive cities bordering beaches on the coast as well as towering mountains and vast deserts to the east, can cause drastic changes in temperature and climate within a matter of miles.
The weekend’s weather was anything but normal, with snow creeping down the slopes bordering cities like Los Angeles and San Diego, lightning temporarily closing Los Angeles County beaches, and a light dusting of snow near Santa Cruz.
Yosemite National Park was closed through March 1 due to winter weather. The National Weather Service warned travelers of disruptions in areas that don’t usually see snow.
Even desert oasis Palm Springs experienced an atypically cold weekend of wind and rain in the Coachella Valley. Long-time resident Mindy Kelley remarked, “This is probably the strangest winter we’ve had yet. The chill and the winds together aren’t like anything we’ve felt here that I can remember.”
The National Weather Service warns that Southern California will continue to feel “significant impacts” on Saturday from the storm system, with heavy snowfall expected in mountain elevations and disruptions to travel and infrastructure.
The possibility of downed trees and power lines and the risk of blizzard conditions due to strong winds in mountainous areas could further complicate matters. Rivers are also at risk of flooding.
“Temperatures will be well below normal over much of the region with sub-freezing morning lows likely along the coasts of Oregon, northern California, and central California,” the weather service added.
Blizzard warnings continued into Saturday afternoon, including the first-ever for the mountain areas of Big Bear, Lake Arrowhead, and Wrightwood, and another covering the mountains of Los Angeles and Ventura counties.
A winter storm warning will remain in effect in those areas until later in the weekend. Other western states will also experience storm impacts later in the weekend, with parts of Texas and Kansas expected to be hit with “widespread showers, thunderstorms and isolated to scattered severe storms.”
The weather service had warned of flash flooding in parts of Los Angeles with lower elevations overnight, including downtown L.A., Hollywood, Beverly Hills, and surrounding suburbs. Flash flooding hit nearby Ventura County early Saturday, where up to 7 inches of rain fell, but by 6 a.m.
Saturday, the weather service said the heavy rain in both counties had ended and that flash flooding was no longer expected to pose a threat, though the area was still under a flood watch. Downtown Los Angeles had 2.29 inches of rainfall by the end of Friday, making it the wettest February day since 2003, according to AccuWeather.
Previously, the California Snow Storm had brought snow as low as the Hollywood Sign, mudslides in areas, and evacuation warnings in Ventura County. On Saturday, sections of Interstate 5 in the Los Angeles area were shut down due to flooding impacts.
The National Weather Service in Los Angeles said scattered showers and isolated thunderstorms should be expected through Saturday afternoon, with “small hail, brief heavy showers possible.”
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