Rare Blizzard Warning in Los Angeles and Ventura Counties

Residents in Los Angeles and Ventura counties are now under a rare blizzard warning, the first one in the area since February 4, 1989.[0] The National Weather Service has warned of near-zero visibility and strong winds of up to 80 mph, with up to 5 feet of snow accumulation in the mountains above 4,000 feet and 8 feet in higher elevations.[1]

Accompanying this storm is a special weather statement for a possible landspout in Ojai, Mira Monte, Oak View, Oxnard, Buenaventura, and Port Hueneme, as well as a severe thunderstorm warning for Santa Clarita, Thousand Oaks, and Simi Valley until 10:45 p.m.[2] Gusty winds up to 60 miles per hour are expected with possible hail.[2]

The Ventura County Sheriff's Office of Emergency Services issued evacuation warnings for several areas hit hard by last month's storms, and urged travelers to keep an extra flashlight, food and water in their vehicles in case of an emergency.[0]

A record low temperature of 41 degrees was set at Los Angeles Airport on Thursday, tying the old record of 41 set in 2019.[3] The low temp occurred in a heavy rain squall around 11 a.m. this morning when the temp fell from 51 to 41 degrees in less than an hour.[3]

The incoming winter storm is expected to bring heavy rain, snow, thunderstorms, and freezing temperatures to Southern California, with snow levels dropping in the mountains.[4] Experts say if snow starts to fall at low enough elevations, it could create near whiteout conditions.[5]

The National Weather Service subsequently verified that snow had indeed landed on the Hollywood sign.[6] The California Highway Patrol closed a portion of the north and southbound lanes of Interstate 5 early Friday through the Tejon Pass, with U.S. Highway 101 being the alternate route.[7]

Caltrans crews are busy clearing snow from lanes and responding to multiple downed trees on Highway 17 in the Santa Cruz Mountains.[7] A winter storm warning is in effect through 3 p.m.[3] Saturday due to heavy wet snow and gusty winds, and ocean waterspouts and land-based tornadoes are possible through noon Friday.[8]

More thundersnow may be possible Saturday and beyond, as the powerful low-pressure system is expected to bring heavy snow and gusty winds with dangerous conditions in the mountains through the weekend.

The National Weather Service warns that travel will be difficult to impossible due to visibility being near zero.[9]

0. “‘A historic event’: US storm triggers first blizzard warning for Los Angeles since 1989” The Guardian, 23 Feb. 2023, https://www.theguardian.com/weather/2023/feb/24/snow-california-los-angeles-west-coast-midwest

1. “Timeline: How much rain, snow to expect over next five days” Los Angeles Times, 24 Feb. 2023, https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2023-02-23/timelines-when-will-worst-of-storms-hit-socal-with-snow-rain-high-surf

2. “Live updates: Flash Flood Warning issued for Los Angeles County” KTLA Los Angeles, 25 Feb. 2023, https://ktla.com/news/local-news/live-updates-winter-storm-wallops-southern-california-with-heavy-rain-snow/

3. “LAX sets record-low temperature amid winter storm” CBS Los Angeles, 24 Feb. 2023, https://www.cbsnews.com/losangeles/news/lax-sets-record-low-temperature-amid-winter-storm/

4. “SoCal Weather Photos: Scenes From the Late-February Winter Storm” NBC Southern California, 24 Feb. 2023, https://www.nbclosangeles.com/weather-news/socal-weather-photos-scenes-from-the-late-february-winter-storm/3101750

5. “Storm brings Kern County's first ever NWS blizzard warning” KERO 23 ABC News Bakersfield, 24 Feb. 2023, https://www.turnto23.com/news/local-news/storm-brings-kern-countys-first-ever-nws-blizzard-warning

6. “Is it snow, graupel, sleet or hail? A guide to the epic SoCal storms” Los Angeles Times, 24 Feb. 2023, https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2023-02-24/what-the-hail-is-that-socal-white-stuff-snow-graupel-sleet-or-hail-here-is-a-guide

7. “Blizzards, thunderstorms, flash flooding: Southern California braces for a wild weather weekend” Fox Weather , 24 Feb. 2023, https://www.foxweather.com/extreme-weather/blizzards-thunderstorms-flash-flooding-southern-california-weekend

8. “Live updates: Storm brings snow, rain and blizzard warning for Southern California” VC Star, 24 Feb. 2023, https://www.vcstar.com/story/news/2023/02/23/storm-brings-snow-rain-and-blizzard-warning-for-ventura-county/69937965007/

9. “Blizzard Warning Issued; Weather expected to take “an abrupt turn for the worse” on Friday” VVNG.com, 24 Feb. 2023, https://www.vvng.com/blizzard-warning-issued-weather-expected-to-take-an-abrupt-turn-for-the-worse-on-friday

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