Southern California Hit By Intense Winds And Snow: A Comprehensive Report
From Wednesday night to Thursday, Southern California experienced a dramatic shift in weather patterns, typified by strong winds and a considerable drop in temperature.
This unusual meteorological event delivered not just strong gusts but also light snowfall to northern Los Angeles County, a rare occurrence in this area.
Despite these exceptional conditions, the Grapevine segment of the 5 Freeway remained operational Thursday morning, according to the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans).
Traffic continued to run smoothly despite the wind, and light snow added little to the difficulty.
Wind Gusts Reach Alarming Speeds, Prompting Warnings And Cancellations
Winds, on the other hand, emerged as the dominant concern, with gusts reaching as high as 70 mph in places such as the San Gabriel Mountains and the 5 Freeway area. The most enormous gust was reported at 77 mph in Avalon, Catalina Island.
The Catalina Express ferry service had to cancel many departures due to the heavy weather, affecting travel between the harbor, Long Beach, and Dana Point.
The winds did not spare metropolitan areas, with gusts surpassing 40 mph in the San Fernando Valley and the other regions. This resulted in notable instances, such as a massive tree uprooting in Long Beach, which fortunately resulted in no injuries.
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Forecast and Warnings: Caution Advised Amidst Continuing Windy Conditions
The severity of the winds decreased throughout the day, although the National Weather Service (NWS) issued strong wind advisories in many places until noon.
The advisories were issued in reaction to the possibility of gusts of up to 80 mph in areas such as the Santa Clarita Valley, Catalina Island, and parts of the Antelope Valley.
The NWS issued severe warnings about potential damage from strong winds, including the chance of felled trees and electrical lines, which could result in power outages and difficult travel conditions, particularly for high-profile vehicles.
Powerful winds hit Southern California as light snow falls in northern LA County https://t.co/pY3n1h7Shb
— L.A. Daily News (@ladailynews) January 12, 2024
A winter storm warning was also in force along the 5 Freeway corridor, with forecasts predicting up to 5 inches of snow and wind rates of up to 80 mph.
The weather also produced extremely low temperatures, with some locations experiencing temperatures in the 30s and 40s. Though temperatures are likely to remain cold, a steady warming trend is expected to begin on Sunday.
In addition, solid waves and potential coastal flooding were forecast for several beaches through Friday. The NWS also predicted a return to more normal weather conditions by Friday, with generally sunny skies and a modest temperature increase, primarily in the interior.