It's Not Just Raining, It's Snowing This Thanksgiving
Reporting by Elina Shatkin, Brianna Flores and Brian Frank.
One of the best things about living in Los Angeles is being able to gloat about our sunny Thanksgiving weather while suckers around the rest of the country are snowed in at airports or defying death by driving on icy roads. Not this year. This Thanksgiving weekend, Southern California is being pelted with a major storm.
We got a taste of rain Wednesday morning but it tapered off by afternoon, perhaps lulling us into a false sense of security, before it kicked into high gear overnight.
Would-be travelers woke up Thursday morning to unrelenting rain and enough snow that authorities closed the Grapevine from just north of Santa Clarita to Mettler. The Cajon Pass, which is also prone to icing-up, was still open at last check.
Residents of Lancaster and Palmdale are reporting snow, which is fun for frolicking. Not so much for driving.
LAist reporter Ryan Fonseca snapped this image while driving through Littlerock, near Palmdale.
Meanwhile, coastal mountain slopes in Orange County and lower elevation communities in the Inland Empire are under a flash flood watch through today. A winter storm warning remains in effect for the mountains of L.A., San Bernardino and Riverside Counties. Expect heavy snow and strong winds if you live in or are travelling to these areas.
The weather is expected be drier Friday but more stormy weather could move in this weekend.
Temperatures won't climb much higher than the 50s today around much of Los Angeles.
Thursday's wet weather should start to dry out during the afternoon but there is a chance of thunderstorms Thursday night, according to the National Weather Service.
The mountains, however, should see consistent, heavy snow fall on Thanksgiving day. Big Bear was already under 4 inches of snow by Wednesday evening and the forecast called for the area to get another 1-3 feet of powder by Thursday night evening.
By the time the weather system leaves town, the coasts and valleys can expect 1-2 inches of rainfall, and the foothills and mountains may get from 1.5 to 3 inches. In the Grapevine area, snowfall could hit 3-6 inches; the Eastern San Gabriel Mountains could see up to 2 feet of the white stuff. And snow levels could drop as low as 2,000 feet on Friday.
❄️❄️❄️THANKSGIVING SNOW IN SOCAL!!❄️❄️❄️— Meredith Garofalo (@GarofaloWX) November 28, 2019
Merry...errr...Happy Thanksgiving to all my friends at the @NWSLosAngeles office, what a busy forecast day but you all are rocking it! This view coming in from Lancaster, CA from @MichaelDubron. Safe travels everyone! #cawx pic.twitter.com/8st5nxaHM9
The rain also brings a chance of flash floods and debris flows in areas recently burned by wildfires, including in Santa Barbara, where the Cave Fire started just this Monday.
#CaveFire- UPDATE- Snow falling at the 3,500 foot level on the fire footprint atop E. Camino Cielo Thanksgiving morning. A light dusting atop used fire hose & on charred chaparral is a rare sight for the Santa Barbara South Coast. pic.twitter.com/gwae0Fw9I1— SBCFireInfo (@EliasonMike) November 28, 2019
The Los Angeles Fire Department has asked anyone affected by recent fires to be especially careful over the holiday weekend.
"We always emphasize ... that those that live near any of the recent burn areas, there's the potential for debris flow," Margaret Stewart, an LAFD spokesperson, told LAist earlier this week.
Stewart also said that wind associated with rainstorms pose a risk for downed trees or power lines.
"We always caution people not to touch those, [especially] if it's a live line, to stay clear," she said.
If you're planning on driving anywhere to celebrate the holiday, be sure to check the forecast and the road conditions well in advance. Here are some tips to make your trip safer:
Officials shut down the Grapevine early Thanksgiving morning between Santa Clarita and Mettler. If you were planning on driving to Northern California, you can't go straight up the 5. You'll need to take the following detour: Take the 126 West to the 101 North through Santa Barbara then, near Santa Maria, cut back East on the 166 until you hit Mettler, where you can get onto Interstate 5 or the 99 freeway. Expect delays.
Caltrans officials are warning that other SoCal freeways including the 14, the 2 and the 33, will probably see snow.
And officials from Caltrans District 6 posted this video of snowy conditions at Frazier Mountain Park Road, west of Gorman.
For the latest information straight from local emergency officials, check the following websites and social media accounts: