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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