Snow

WINTRY WONDERLAND — A blanket of snow covers Leona Valley and other higher elevations around the Antelope Valley on Thursday, thanks to a colder-than-expected winter storm. Much of the Antelope Valley got more than an inch of rain from the system.

It was a white Dec. 6 for parts of the Valley on Thursday, as the first winter storm of the season brought snow to the higher elev­a­tions, causing road closures in Leona Valley, Tehachapi and the Grape­vine.

Hours of steady rain brought traf­fic tie-ups and the occasional flood­ed street across the rest of the Valley.

Roads through Leona Valley, in­clu­ding San Francisquito Can­yon Road at Elizabeth Lake Road and Bou­quet Canyon Road between Eliz­a­beth Lake Road and Santa Clar­ita, were closed in the early afternoon.

Pine Canyon Road between Three Points Road and Lake Hughes Road closed due to snow for a little more than an hour in the mid-afternoon.

Avenue D (State Route 138) and Lancaster Road were closed at 210th Street as well.

San Francisquito Canyon Road reopened at about 4 p.m., although drivers were cautioned about icy conditions.

In Kern County, Tehachapi Wil­low Springs Road closed for snow and ice between Rosamond Boul­evard and Highline Road in Tehachapi in the early afternoon.

As of 4 p.m., the National Weather Service reported 1.86 inches of rain in Acton, 1.43 inches in Lancaster and 1.44 inches in Palm­dale. The Lancaster total broke the old record for the date of 1.20 inches set in 1997.

Unofficially, Rosamond got 0.89 inches and Tehachapi 0.49 inches. Data for Mojave, California City and Boron were not available.

Also, Lancaster’s high of 43 degrees and Palmdale’s high of 41 just missed the record lowest maximum temperatures for the date of 39 and 40, respectively, set in 1978.

Through 5 p.m., the Los Angeles County Depart­ment of Water and Power’s web­site listed 1.69 inches of rain in Littlerock, 1.61 in Llano, 1.60 in Quartz Hill and 1.04 in Lake Los An­geles.

The rain storm was pro­ving to be more power­ful than forecasters an­tic­ipated. The National Weath­er Service indicated ear­lier that while roads in the northern reaches of Los Angeles County might be slippery, they did not an­tic­ipate major problems along the Grapevine. But by late morning, snow blanketed the area and forced a clo­sure of Interstate through the Grapevine in both dir­ec­tions. Hundreds of ve­hic­les were stranded on the closed highway, with no means of escaped from the jam­med roadway.

The Grapevine was re­opened in both directions by 3 p.m.

According to the weath­er service, a rainfall record for a Dec. 6 was set in down­town Los Angeles, with 1.9 inches falling. The previous record for the date was 1.01 inches in 1997.

In Santa Clarita, sher­iff’s deputies and coun­ty firefighters helped res­i­dents evacuate two homes that were affected by flood­ing around 9:30 a.m. The downpour also prompted a temporary closure of Sierra Highway in the area, but the water had subsided by late morning and lanes were reopened.

At Hollywood Burbank Airport, a Southwest Air­lines jet from Oakland skid­ded off the slick runway while landing, forcing a tem­por­ary ground-stop of all flights heading to the air­port. No injuries were re­port­ed.

A flood advisory was in ef­fect until early afternoon in Los Angeles County, later replaced by an urban and small stream flood advisory, but that too was allowed to expire as rains tapered off.

The rain made for a chal­lenging morning commute, as was the case Wednesday, when, according to the California Highway Patrol, there were 119 accidents re­port­ed on Los Angeles Coun­ty freeways between 5 and 10 a.m., compared to 93 under dry conditions a week earlier. Forecasters said motorists must be par­tic­ularly vigilant on can­yon roads.

The wet weather is expected to be short-lived. Show­ers were expected to taper off overnight, with partly cloudy skies ex­pect­ed this morning, making way for sunshine this af­ter­noon.

Chilly temperatures will remain, however, with highs today predicted in the lower to mid-50s and lows in the upper 20s to mid-30s tonight.

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