It's beginning to look a lot like a cool, windy and possibly rainy Christmas as winter weather advisories go into effect Wednesday night for Southern California's mountains and gusty winds howl in canyon areas.
High wind warnings will be in effect Wednesday for Los Angeles and Ventura counties. Gusts up to 70 mph are possible in the mountains north of Los Angeles and Santa Monica Mountain range, creating hazardous crosswinds for drivers in mountain passes, including the Grapevine section of the 5 Freeway in northern LA County and along the 101 Freeway in Santa Barbara County.
Snow levels will fall to between 4,000 and 5,000 feet by Christmas morning, according to the National Weather Service. "Mountain travel, especially through the I-5 corridor will be difficult" due to blowing snow, according to an NWS statement.
Powerful winds are expected Wednesday and into Christmas Day as temperatures drop by 15 to 25 degrees from Tuesday's warm conditions. UCLA tied a record high for Tuesday at 81 degrees, breaking a high set in 1989, and similar readings were reported across the region.
Scattered showers are possible, but most of the rain will stay to the north of Los Angeles.
"We're talking strong winds, perhaps damaging winds, and a few showers for Christmas Day," said NBC4 forecaster Crystal Egger.
Elsewhere, a storm system brought winds, snow and thunderstorms to a large part of the United States Tuesday and clogged holiday travel before Christmas Eve. The storm is set to turn north Wednesday, bringing gusty winds, heavy rain, and "significant" snowfall to Chicago and Milwaukee.
Another storm might bring precipitation to the Pacific Northwest Wednesday before moving across the Rockies.
In the Southeast, tornadoes touched down Tuesday and killed four people in Mississippi.