winter storm

Southern California's Coldest Storm of the Season Delivers Mountain Snow

Rain and low-level snow were possible Wednesday in SoCal.

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The coldest storm of the season brought snow and rain to Southern California following a predominantly dry spell since late December.

Residents in the Antelope Valley, where snow fell Tuesday, marveled at the changes in temperatures recently. The Antelope Valley could received as much as an inch of snow on the valley floor, with up to 2 inches falling in the foothills in this storm.

It reminded Donnell "Sarge" Murray of a similar time.

"It was Thanksgiving Day two years ago," he said. "We had snow. We love it."

Rochelle Murray added: "I actually love it as long as I'm inside. I'm always cold, so if I'm outside and I see the snow, I'm out."

In time for evening rush, snow flurries meant slick streets across Lancaster. And in some places it was cold enough for the snow to stick for hours.

"One day it's sunny, the other day it's windy, Raining, and with snowm," said Yuridia Vasquez. But this is the AV. We can expect anything."

Kevin Hunter said the last couple of weeks it's been 70-something degrees.

"Today it dropped to like 33, quick," he said, wrapping up a grocery run. "It was surprising."

Stella Williams was also out shopping and has learned to cope with the cold and occasional snowfall.

"I was off today. I was kind of in the house," Williams said. "Now I'm about to go home and cook."

A winter weather advisory will be in effect until noon Wednesday in the Los Angeles County Mountains and the Antelope Valley. Forecasters said the mountains could see snow accumulating up to 3 inches, with 5 inches possible in some localized areas and the snow level falling as low as 2,000 feet by Wednesday morning. The snowy conditions will be accompanied by winds gusting up to 45 mph.

The precipitation is due to a cooler storm system moving down over California from Alaska. A winter storm warning was posted in the northern Sierra Nevada and Caltrans urged motorists to check for chain controls on major routes.

Widespread freeze warnings were issued for overnight hours from early Wednesday to Friday morning.

"The temperatures are going to be much cooler than what we had over the weekend and at the end of last week," said NBC4 meteorologist Belen De Leon. "Not much of a temperature range here!"

The state drought monitor shows that conditions haven't improved or worsened from last week, De Leon said.

"We currently still have moderate drought conditions, and it's a bit thicker when you head up north out towards Kern Valley," De Leon said. "That's where you have severe drought conditions."

U.S. Drought Monitor
U.S. Drought Monitor for California for Feb. 17, 2022.

Forecasters said cold conditions will continue through Wednesday, with drier weather expected on Thursday, along with a slight warming trend that will last into the weekend.

Read: Winter Weather Driving Tips

"If you plan to head to the mountains, don't," said De Leon. "You should really avoid travel at higher elevations. If you must travel at higher elevations, then carry those chains with you."

A winter storm system brought a pool of cold air into SoCal in February 2022, with snow levels dropping to 2000'. Snow and ice are likely over both the Grapevine and the Cajon Pass. A Winter Weather Advisory and Winter Storm Watch were posted in the mountains.

The Apple and Lucerne Valleys are also under a winter storm warning, stretching toward the San Bernardino mountains and Idyllwild. The Santa Ana mountains in Orange County are also under a winter weather advisory.

Travel in areas under winter weather advisories and warnings could be "icy and dicey," according to De Leon, so it's a good time to break out the snow chains.

The snow in the mountains and mountain passes could linger past the thunderstorms on Wednesday morning.

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