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Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow

Weather: Southland foothills are expected to get a dusting as one of the coldest storms in years moves through the state.

January 29, 2002|ERIC MALNIC | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Heavy snow was predicted in Southern California's mountains this morning, and lighter dustings are possible in the foothills of the San Fernando, San Gabriel and Antelope valleys as one of the coldest storms in years continues its icy march through the state.

Although the leading edge of the Arctic storm dropped up to 2 inches of rain in the Los Angeles Basin and frosted the Tehachapi, San Gabriel and San Bernardino mountains with snow Sunday night, the main force of the system struck early Monday.

Snow forced schools to close in Sonoma County on Monday, and flakes fell on San Francisco's Twin Peaks for the first time since 1998. Snow halted traffic on California 17 between Santa Cruz and San Jose.

The core of the storm was expected to strike Southern California before dawn today. The National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning for the mountains of Santa Barbara, Ventura and Los Angeles counties, advising motorists of dangerous winter conditions above 2,000 feet.

"Accumulations of 6 to 12 inches of snow are possible," the weather service said Monday evening. "There will be northwest winds of 25 to 35 mph, with wind chills from zero to 10 degrees below zero. There will be areas of dense fog."

Drivers heading for Tejon Pass on Interstate 5 and Cajon Pass on Interstate 15 were warned to prepare for heavy weather and carry tire chains. Both passes top 4,000 feet.

Forecasters said up to 3 inches of snow might fall in the Antelope Valley, and flakes could fall in the highest parts of La Crescenta, La Canada Flintridge, Altadena and Monrovia this morning as snow levels there dip to as low as 1,500 feet.

The weather service predicted isolated thunderstorms with occasional heavy downpours and small hail along the coast and in the coastal valleys. Some small hail fell around Marina Del Rey Monday night. Forecasters said there could be a waterspout or two this morning in the Santa Barbara and Catalina channels.

The storm is expected to linger throughout the day today. Bill Hoffer, a weather service meteorologist, said downtown Los Angeles could get an additional 2 inches of rain before the system moves east tonight. He said as much as 4 inches of rain could fall in some foothill communities below the snow line.

Coastal and valley temperatures will remain chilly, with daytime highs in the upper 40s and low 50s following overnight readings in the 30s and low 40s.

The weather is expected to remain cool but get drier during the remainder of the week, with no additional rain predicted from Wednesday through Sunday.

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