Photo gallery: Snow, Low Temps and Rain Sweep Across Southern California
A wintry blast of weather landed Thursday in Southern California - from pounding surf on L.A. beaches to snow-covered mountain ranges in the San Bernardino National Forest.
In some areas, the snow level dropped to an elevation of 2,000 feet, and rain, largely scattered showers, was expected to be light - less than a 10th of an inch in coastal and valley areas, according to the National Weather Service.
The California Highway Patrol was escorting vehicles on the 15 Freeway through the Cajon Pass and had closed the 5 Freeway through the Grapevine due to snowfall sticking to the road Thursday evening.
King tides were expected to bring unusually high water levels to the Los Angeles coastline today and Saturday morning, according to the NWS.
Some coastal areas saw unusually high tides that led to minor flooding on Thursday.
Minor flooding along low lying coastal areas may occur today in some areas, including parking lots and roadways, the Weather Service warned.
Mariners should also consider excessive low tides and take precautions to avoid vessel damage, the NWS says.
At Sunset Beach in north Orange County, beach areas were flooded Thursday and the seawater crept into a few roadways, though no closed roads were reported, such as last month when part of Pacific Coast Highway had to be closed.
In Long Beach, high tides affected the Alamitos Bay area a bit. High surf was expected to pound the coast again today and Saturday, and some flooding is possible, National Weather Service forecasters said.
In the Inland Empire, snow and ice made a difficult commute for mountain and High Desert residents.
A single-vehicle fatal accident occurred at about 8:30 a.m. Thursday on the 15 Freeway near Oak Hill Road in Oak Hills when a 35-year-old Hesperia driver of a silver Toyota Scion was driving too fast for the weather conditions, authorities said.
The southbound car skidded out of control across the northbound lanes, across the asphalt shoulder and into desert terrain, finally striking a utility pole, according to the CHP.
SAN GABRIEL MOUNTAINS
BIG BEAR LAKE
Source: National Weather Service
Cold weather safety tips
Source: Los Angeles County Department of Public Health
The driver was taken to Desert Valley Hospital in Apple Valley where he was pronounced dead.
The CHP also reported that 11 vehicles, including two school buses with students on board, were involved in accidents on Thursday due to the ice-ridden roadways in the San Bernardino Mountains near Crestline. No injuries were reported.
Around 4 p.m. Thursday, the CHP also received calls of a big rig going over the side of Highway 18 near Strawberry Lodge between Lake Gregory and Pine Crest. The driver managed to get out and was not seriously injured, authorities said.
Saturday morning is expected to be particularly cold, with temperatures dropping into the 20s in valley areas, "resulting in a potentially damaging freeze event," according to an NWS advisory.
Video courtesy of National Weather Service and Caltrans.
"Farmers and anyone with sensitive plants or animals should prepare for several nights of very cold and potentially sub-freezing temperatures," the advisory said, adding that tonight and Saturday night will be the coldest of the cold spell.
A high-wind warning indicating 40 mph winds or gusts of 58 mph and above was in effect in the San Gabriel Mountains until 4 a.m. today and in the Antelope Valley until 10 tonight.
A structure fire in downtown San Bernardino started Thursday when some homeless people may have had a warming fire burning in a boarded-up abandoned home in the 500 block of G street.
"Police have one person around the corner they're questioning in regards to this fire," said interim Fire Chief Paul Drasil. "We won't know the exact cause of the fire until the report is concluded."
The weather is great for snow sports in the Southland ski resorts. Traffic picked up in the mountains with ski season in full effect, and the new storm has drawn even more travelers to the mountain highways.
"They know when the fresh powder hits," said Dan McKernan, Big Bear Lake Resort Association spokesman.
Jessica Kroll, a lift operator at Mountain High Ski Resort in Wrightwood, said it was snowing steadily on the mountain Thursday morning.
With wind accompanying the storm, Bear Mountain Ski Resort officials urged snowboarders and skiers to bundle up before coming up the mountain.
"Snow showers have moved in and (we) are expecting scattered flurries to last all day and night," officials posted on the resort's website. "Be sure to layer up because the high today is almost 30 degrees."
Staff Writers Melissa Pinion-Whitt, Beatriz E. Valenzuela and Joe Segura contributed to this report.