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Snow — or something like snow — falls in some parts of L.A. County

Southern California mountains receive the bulk of the snow, but places such as Glendale and Studio City experience rare dustings.

February 27, 2011|By Sam Allen, Los Angeles Times
  • Storm clouds move east on Saturday, revealing a view of downtown Los Angeles and the snow-dusted mountains beyond.
Storm clouds move east on Saturday, revealing a view of downtown Los Angeles… (Lawrence K. Ho, Los Angeles…)

The official snow-level may have fallen short of expectations Saturday, but that didn't prevent Los Angeles County residents from enjoying rare winter conditions this weekend.

Burbank, Glendale and Studio City were some of the areas that saw flakes of soft hail or snow pellets, according to weather reports. The precipitation was part of an unusual weather system that flowed south from Canada and dropped snow and rain across much of the state.

The snow level in L.A. County as of Saturday evening was about 1,700 feet, according to the National Weather Service. Earlier reports had forecast snow as low as 1,000 feet.

But even below that, there was hail, ice pellets and a frozen variety of precipitation known as graupel "that certainly looked like real snow," said Stuart Seto, a specialist at the weather service.

In Burbank at just 600 feet, the white stuff started to fall about 5 p.m.

"It just started coming down as hail, and then there was this giant sheet of snow; it was awesome" said Matthew Currie Holmes, an actor from Burbank.

Holmes said the precipitation quickly formed a white layer over his lawn and car. Shortly after, his neighbors launched into a snowball fight outside his home, he said.

In most of the lower-elevation areas, the precipitation melted or turned to slush once it hit the ground. But local mountains received huge snowfalls. At Mount Baldy in the Angeles National Forest, 4 feet of snow was reported. Mountain High in Wrightwood received 2 1/2 feet.

The system moved into the region Friday, bringing rain and cold temperatures to many parts of the county, Seto said. Cold air toward the end of the system created unstable conditions Saturday and caused a drop in snow levels.

The weather forced the closure of several roads in the Station fire burn area, including Angeles Forest Highway and Big Tujunga Canyon Road. The Los Angeles County Department of Public Works said in a release that the roads would reopen once conditions improved.

Heavy snowfall was reported along the Grapevine, and California Highway Patrol officers escorted cars throughout much of the afternoon, the CHP said. Escorts were also in effect along the 14 Freeway.

Temperatures were expected to remain low across the region Sunday morning but rise in the afternoon. Seto said that temperatures will climb in the early part of the week but that more precipitation is likely Wednesday.

sam.allen@latimes.com

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