Rain, Snow Drizzles Out on Tuesday

A huge midwinter storm left much of California rain-soaked and snowbound and caused plenty of traffic havoc, but the state appeared to have dodged the major mudslides and flooding that had been feared.  (NBCLA.com Radar) The storm that closed major arteries in and out of Los Angeles and forced the cancellation of an often rain-plagued PGA tournament was not quite finished with the region Tuesday, with lingering showers expected to make trouble for morning commuters returning to work after the holiday weekend.

The storm stretched from the Mexican border up to Oregon and was expected to last through Tuesday afternoon, said Stan Wasowski, a forecaster for the National Weather Service in San Diego.

He said the clouds extended several hundred miles off the Pacific coast.

"This one here is hitting the entire state," Wasowski said.

Heavy snow temporarily forced the closure of the Grapevine section of Interstate 5 in the mountains north of Los Angeles, and a section of Interstate 15 in the mountains to the east, both major highways for holiday travelers.

A woman and a girl had moderate injuries when their minivan collided with a public bus on a rain-slicked road in Cerritos south of Los Angeles late Monday, authorities said. The bus had no passengers and the driver was not hurt.

Wind gusts caused dangerous surf conditions off the coasts in San Diego and Orange counties, the National Weather Service said.

In Northern California, a flood advisory was issued for the San Francisco Bay area and a flash flood watch was in effect for much of California's Central Coast, where flooded greens forced the cancellation of the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am's final round.

The PGA Tour declared Dustin Johnson the winner after he built a four-shot lead early in the weekend.

The rain brought renewed fears of mudslides in areas ravaged by wildfires last year. Some mud flowed over sandbags and seeped into about 20 homes in a burn area in Yorba Linda, the Orange County Register said.

Before the storm passes through, Los Angeles County could get between 2 and 3 inches of rain along the coast and 3 to 5 inches in the mountains. By Sunday night Agoura Hills and Malibu had both seen more than 2 inches of rain.

Up to several feet of snow were expected above the 6,000-foot level in area mountains, said Stuart Seto, a weather specialist at the National Weather Service in Oxnard.

There were 8 inches of snow at Mount Wilson on Monday and between 6 and 12 inches at Mt. Baldy. Mt. Baldy on Monday also received more rain than other local mountain locales -- 2.73 inches, according to the NWS.

The storm came amid what has been an unseasonably dry winter in the Los Angeles. In January, downtown Los Angeles typically gets about 3.3 inches of rainfall but received only 0.34 inches last month, Seto said.

"We were several inches below normal but this is really catching us up," he said.

In the Sierra Nevada, heavy snows forced motorists to don tire chains to navigate steep mountain passes. The weather was a boon for Lake Tahoe resorts, where skiers and snowboarders were enjoying heaps of fresh powder.   

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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