Rain, hail and even some snow fell in the Los Angeles Basin on Monday as a cold, unstable front moved rapidly into Southern California off the ocean to remind everyone that winter's lease has not quite expired.
Snow whitened the San Gabriel Mountains and parts of Glendale, Sunland, La Crescenta, La Canada Flintridge and Pasadena as well as the Antelope Valley.
Except in the foothills, the snow was mostly slush but up to 3 inches were reported on the Foothill Freeway.
The California Highway Patrol warned motorists of slush and snow on the Antelope Valley Freeway at Escondido Summit between Newhall and Palmdale.
Also the CHP said, campers and trailers were not recommended on the Golden State Freeway from Hungry Valley Road to the Grapevine because of high winds and snow that turned to slush about the time it hit the ground.
Despite earlier forecasts that the rain would not come along until Monday evening, showers began during the morning and--after a deceptive interlude of sunshine--were followed by an upper-level low-pressure area from the Pacific that, in the early afternoon, brought more rain, along with lightning, thunder, hail and snow.
The snow level was expected to drop to about 4,000 feet during the evening.
At least four people were injured when a truck and six cars collided on the San Gabriel River Freeway at Beverly Boulevard, on the border between Pico Rivera and Whittier, during heavy rain.
Traffic on the Pasadena Freeway was snarled after a car struck a guardrail near York Boulevard and spun around to block two lanes.
The morning rains were not particularly heavy. The National Weather Service said amounts were generally less than .10 of an inch along the coast.
Clear Skies Ahead
Downtown Los Angeles reported .12 of an inch by Monday afternoon, bringing the season total to 11.62. Normal rainfall to date is 12.55.
After the afternoon cold front--which kept the downtown Los Angeles temperature from rising above 61--moved on through Southern California toward Arizona and Nevada, the forecasters looked for some breeziness and for mostly clear weather today and Wednesday as high pressure rebuilds over the region.
It should be slightly warmer, with the highs today from 65 to 68 and on Wednesday from 62 to 70.
In downtown Los Angeles, the relative humidity ranged from 71% to 43% on Monday.
Spring, by the way, begins Wednesday.
Times Staff Writers Deborah Hastings and George R. Fry contributed to this article.