UPDATE 2-Southern California delights in uncommon snowfall as winter storm intensifies

(Provides particulars from San Francisco Bay space, main mountain freeway closure north of Los Angeles, flash flood warnings)

By Steve Gorman and Wealthy McKay

LOS ANGELES, Feb 24 (Reuters) – A slow-moving winter storm intensified over California on Friday, triggering the primary blizzard warning in elements of the Los Angeles space in 30 years and creating the extraordinary sight of snowflakes swirling across the iconic Hollywood signal.

Snow and freezing rain pushed into the Golden State from the north, the place it dumped about 10 inches (25 cm) of powder on Portland, Oregon, earlier within the week. California’s snow was heaviest within the Cascades, Sierra Nevada and coastal mountains.

However even residents in lower-elevation foothills of California’s central coast and the San Francisco Bay space awoke Friday morning to 1 to three inches of snow.

“The final time we noticed snow like this within the low elevations was in 2011,” stated Sarah McCorkle, a Nationwide Climate Service (NWS) meteorologist in Monterey, California. “It is a comparatively uncommon occasion.”

San Francisco additionally broke a 132-year report for the bottom Feb. 24 temperature ever documented because the mercury dipped to 39 levels Fahrenheit (4 Celsius) on Friday morning, one diploma decrease than the earlier report set in 1891, McCorkle stated.

The storm was anticipated to strengthen on Friday and linger over California by Saturday, the NWS stated.

An enormous low-pressure system pushed from the Arctic was accountable for the bizarre circumstances, stated Bryan Jackson, a forecaster on the NWS Climate Prediction Heart in Faculty Park, Maryland.

In Southern California, “this can be a uncommon case of a chilly, vital storm occasion,” Jackson stated.

In a sight that should have delighted many Angelenos, snowflakes even fell across the Hollywood signal atop Mount Lee within the hills above the town, identified for its sunny days and palm timber.

At an elevation of 1,500 ft (457 meters), the signal – with its big, white-block lettering seen for miles across the metropolis – was near the brink for the formation of snow through the storm, Jackson stated.

Craig Robert Younger, an actor who starred within the tv sequence “Charmed” and “The Final Ship,” lives in Hollywood Hills inside eyeshot of the famed signal. He stated he was amazed to see snow swirling there.

“I moved right here from the UK 20 years in the past, and have not seen snow since,” stated Younger, 46. “I really had a snowball struggle. It introduced me again to my childhood.”

In close by San Bernardino County, the sheriff’s workplace posted a video clip on Twitter exhibiting deputies mendacity within the snow, flapping legs and arms to make “snow angels,” whereas additionally urging residents to remain off roads.


Snowy street circumstances and excessive winds prompted the California Freeway Patrol (CHP) and state transportation officers to shut Interstate 5, a significant freeway connecting Los Angeles to factors north, alongside a 40-mile (64.4 km) mountain stretch generally known as the Grapevine.

It remained unclear how lengthy the closure would final, based on CHP officer Anthony Daulton.

“We’re on the mercy of the skies proper now,” he stated.

A separate storm that clobbered the U.S. Plains, Midwest and Nice Lakes areas earlier this week blew out to the Atlantic on Friday after passing over New England, the climate service stated. Greater than 750,000 properties and companies, largely in Michigan, remained with out electrical energy.

Even earlier than the most recent storm, a lot of California has skilled an unusually wet, chilly winter, beginning with a spate of lethal “atmospheric river” storms that unleashed widespread flooding, felled timber and triggered mudslides in a state lengthy tormented by drought and wildfires.

Highly effective winter storms, interspersed with excessive warmth and dry spells, are signs of local weather change, specialists say, and rising extra frequent and intense.

In Los Angeles County on Friday, a blizzard warning was issued for the San Gabriel Mountains north of the town – the primary within the L.A. area since 1989 – with 2 to five ft (60 to 152 cm) of snow forecast above an elevation of 4,500 ft (1,370 meters), the climate service stated. Seven ft (2.1 meters) of snow may accumulate in some spots with winds gusting as much as 60 miles per hour (96 kph).

Large Bear Lake in San Bernardino County already has 28 inches (71 cm) of snow on the bottom, Jackson stated – and extra was coming.

Drenching rains posed a special downside throughout vast swaths of Los Angeles and Ventura Counties, the place a flash flood warning was posted till 10 p.m. Friday night time.

Heavy showers will inundate many elements of California by Saturday, the climate service stated. Two to three inches (5 to 7.6 cm) are forecast for Los Angeles and San Bernardino, elevating the chance of flash flooding.

Greater than 120,000 California properties and companies, primarily within the northern a part of the state, had been with out energy on Friday, based on Poweroutage.us. (Reporting by Steve Gorman in Los Angeles and Wealthy McKay in Atlanta; modifying by Jonathan Oatis and Invoice Berkrot)

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