Southern California Storms

Hail accumulates Wednesday as a downpour hits in downtown Los Angeles. Hail and heavy rain fell as powerful thunderstorms swept into Southern California, flooding roads and snarling rush hour traffic

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Just days after roasting under record high temperatures, Southern California got a wintry blast Wednesday as a powerful storm brought rain, hail, wind and snow.

Wet conditions made for a slippery commute in Los Angeles while heavy flooding stranded drivers in desert areas to the east.

The Santa Monica Pier and miles of beaches in either direction were evacuated because of lightning strikes.

Lancaster received 0.01 inches of rain and Palmdale got a trace.

The cold low-pressure system prompted the National Weather Service to issue flood watches for inland communities. Winter storm warnings were posted for the mountains, where vehicles were required to use chains because of icy roads.

Local ski areas rejoiced at the forecast of several inches of snow.

“Woo hoo!” tweeted the Mountain High resort in the San Gabriel Mountains east of Los Angeles. “Fresh layer of snow overnight. More on the way today.”

Pea-sized hail blanketed downtown Los Angeles sidewalks before being washed away by a deluge of rain. Some areas could see more than three inches of rain.

About two inches fell in the San Diego area Tuesday, and more was expected.

Voluntary evacuation warnings were in place for canyon communities of Orange and Riverside counties, where mudslides were possible along wildfire burn scars.

The storms will move out today, when warmer, drier conditions are expected to return.

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