A cold rain began falling Friday throughout the Southland as a winter storm arrived that forecasters said will bring heavy showers, thunderstorms and snow as low as 500 feet.
The Los Angeles County mountains are under a winter storm warning through 3 a.m. Sunday, where 1-2 feet of snow could fall above 5,000 feet, and 6-12 inches at lower elevations.
According to the National Weather Service, snow levels could fall to as low as 1,000 feet Friday evening, before turning to showers on Saturday.
Heavy snow and gusty winds could cause whiteout conditions with visibility near zero, especially above 5,000 feet. Accumulating snow is expected over the Golden State (5) Freeway and Antelope Valley (14) Freeway late Friday tonight and Saturday.
Visibility could be "near zero" at times along the Grapevine, with winds of 20-30 mph, gusting to 50 mph, the Weather Service reported.
A winter storm warning means significant amounts of snow are expected. Travel through the mountains is "highly discouraged," according to the Weather Service.
In the Santa Monica Mountains, a winter weather advisory will be in effect from 3 a.m. Saturday through 4 a.m. Sunday. Accumulations of 1-3 inches are expected, with most of the snow falling above 2,000 feet.
Rain will mix with snow at times late Friday, then tor to snow showers Saturday morning. Scattered showers will continue through Saturday night.
West to northwest winds of 15-25 mph, with gusts to 35 mph, can be expected Friday night and Saturday.
Accumulating snow and ice could result in extremely dangerous driving conditions through the Santa Monica Mountains, including State Route 23, according to the Weather Service.
A winter weather advisory means that periods of snow, sleet or freezing rain could cause slippery roads and limited visibilities.
The Antelope Valley is under a winter weather advisory from midnight Friday through 4 a.m. Sunday, where 1-3 inches of snow is expected.
Snow levels will start around 3,500 feet Friday evening, then drop to the valley floor by Saturday morning. Periods of snow will develop late Friday, then turn to showers Saturday morning. Scattered showers will continue through Saturday night.
The Weather Service warned of dangerous driving conditions in the area, especially on Saturday.
"Take this storm very seriously," said Weather Service specialist Stuart Seto. "We will have some very cold temperatures. With wind and moisture in the air it can really get chilly. The rain will get heavy at times ... (and) once the front comes in we will get cold air and rain, which means thunderstorms."
Public access to county roads within the Station Fire burn area were closed at noon Friday.
According to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works, the following roads were closed:
- Angeles Forest Highway from Aliso Canyon Road to Angeles Crest Highway;
- Big Tujunga Canyon Road from Big Tujunga Dam to Angeles Forest Highway; and
- Upper Big Tujunga Canyon Road.
In order to allow snow-enthusiasts to reach fresh powder, Public Works officials said they plan to prioritize the opening of Big Tujunga Canyon Road from Big Tujunga Dam to Angeles Forest Highway and Angeles Forest Highway from Big Tujunga Canyon Road to Angeles Crest Highway.
For the latest updates on road conditions and closures, visit www.dpwcare.org.