LOS ANGELES — Powerful winds battered much of the Southland early Wednesday as the front end of a cold winter storm system moved into the area, giving the region a taste of the chilly temperatures, high winds, rain and snow to come — prompting a rare blizzard warning for the Los Angeles County mountains.
The blizzard warning will be in effect for the Los Angeles County mountains from 4 a.m., Friday to 4 p.m., Saturday. Forecasters said up to 5 feet of snow could accumulate in the mountains, accompanied by wind gusts topping 55 mph. Higher elevations could see as much as 7 feet of snow, with accumulations of 6 to 12 inches possible at elevations between 2,000 and 4,000 feet, “including most major mountain passes.”
“Travel should be restricted to emergencies only,” according to the National Weather Service. “If you must travel, have a winter survival kit with you. If you get stranded, stay with your vehicle.”
In the Antelope Valley, a winter weather advisory will be in effect until 4 a.m. Friday, with forecasters anticipating 3 to 6 inches of snow in the foothills and 1 to 3 inches on the valley floor, with winds gusting to 45 mph.
According to the weather service’s Los Angeles office — which is actually based in Oxnard — the blizzard warning is the first issued in the area since 1989, when a warning was also issued for the LA County mountains. Forecasters previously indicated this week’s blizzard warning was a first. Despite learning otherwise, they warned, “Even if this is not our first, this is a dangerous storm. Do not travel in the mountains Friday and Saturday.”
Ahead of the blizzard warning, a winter storm warning will be in effect in the mountains until 4 a.m. Friday for the mountains, thanks to anticipated “low elevation snow, strong winds and very cold wind chills.”
When the brunt of the storm begins to arrive today, all major mountain passes will be at risk of snow, while other areas could get up to a half-inch of rain.
By tonight, however, things will begin to worsen.
Coastal and valley areas could get between 2 and 4 inches of rain during the storm. But snow will be the bigger story, with the low elevation snow contributing to what could be “the largest amount of 24-48 hour snowfall seen in decades, likely rivaling the 1989 storm, for our Ventura and Los Angeles County mountains,” according to the weather service.
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