Two new storms hit southern California this week

After a short rain break, the Southern Californians will round off the year through New Year’s Eve with cooler, icier and wetter winter weather, said the National Weather Service.

One storm is expected to hit the region on Monday afternoon, followed by a second storm on Tuesday night that could last until Friday morning. Significant rain, mountain snow, and gusts of wind are just as likely as local flooding, debris flows, and additional travel delays.

The main front of the first storm is expected to hit Los Angeles County on Monday afternoon, generating wind gusts of 55 miles per hour and up to an inch of rain across the region.

Joe Sirard, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Oxnard, described Monday’s storm as a “quick blow” that will ripple through LA County in about six or eight hours, with only light rain and snow showers lasting after about 9:00 pm

But the front will bring temperatures in the 40s and 50s and snow depths in the mountains to 2,500 to 3,500 feet. Driving down Freeway 5 through the Grapevine could be tricky, officials said.

The incoming system had triggered a winter storm warning in the mountains of Los Angeles, Ventura, Santa Barbara and San Bernardino by the end of Monday. Heavy snowfall, gusty winds, icy roads, and poor visibility create dangerous driving conditions at higher elevations, and local residents are advised to avoid travel whenever possible.

“If you have to travel, have an extra flashlight, food and water ready in your vehicle in case of an emergency,” the warning reads.

A frost watch was also issued for the Santa Clarita Valley and Ventura County from late Monday night through Tuesday morning. Overnight frost warnings can be issued for the Central Coast, South Santa Barbara County Coast, and Ventura County Coast.

🙎‍♂️Why is I-80 from Colfax (@PlacerCA) to the Nevada State-line CLOSED?
👷The view on I-80 in the Sierra is currently poor or not visible at all. Crews are working around the clock to maintain I-80, but conditions are unsafe, especially with an impending storm expected this afternoon.🥶

– Caltrans District 3 (@ CaltransDist3) December 26, 2021

The storm has already created problems for residents of Northern California, where active rock slides and mountains of snow have messed up travel and created significant hazards.

In Placer County, search and rescue teams are looking for a skier who went missing on Christmas Day. Rory Angelotta, 43, was last seen going up a ski lift on Saturday morning, officials said. Conditions have made search efforts difficult and another storm is expected on Monday.

“We’ve had fairly severe weather conditions continuously since Saturday night, Christmas night, and it has made it very difficult for rescuers to get here, let alone come out and search,” said Sgt. Mike Powers of the Placer County Sheriff’s Department.

The California Department of Transportation’s map of road closures on Monday was littered with icons indicating blocked roads – particularly through the Sierra Nevada, where up to four feet of snow made mountaineering nearly impossible. An avalanche warning is in place in the Central Sierra Nevada until Tuesday morning.

Meanwhile, Highway 80 from Colfax to the Nevada state line has been closed due to poor visibility with no reopening expected. Videos released by the California Highway Patrol showed near-white conditions on the highway.

Authorities near Reno said three people were injured in a 20 car pile-up on Interstate 395 on Sunday and Highway 50 was closed near Placerville due to heavy snowfall.

Closer to the coast, several sections of Highway 1 around the San Luis Obispo and Monterey counties have been blocked by falling rocks, with officials providing few estimates for the reopening.

And in the San Bernardino Mountains east of Los Angeles County, crews were working Monday to repair a section of State Route 18 that washed down a slope in heavy rain. The road could remain closed in either direction from 40th Street to Highway 138 “for several days, if not weeks,” Caltrans said.

Highway 1 is closed from north of Gorda in Monterey County to Ragged Point in SLO County due to a rock fall blocking both lanes. No reopening estimate. Travelers should check with Caltrans / emergency workers nearby. Video on Highway. 1 earlier today. @ PIOJimShivers

– Caltrans District 5 (@ CaltransD5) December 26, 2021

Despite the dangers and headaches, the storms bring much-needed moisture to drought-dried California. The UC Berkeley Central Sierra Snow Lab said Monday that the latest 24-hour snow figures put the area up to a new December record – 193.7 feet of snow, breaking the previous record of 179 feet of snow set in December 1970.

Meteorologist Sirard said downtown Los Angeles has received 5.62 inches of rainfall since the water year began October 1, thanks to December storms. The normal value for the date is 3.28 inches.

“Only because [the season] A wet start doesn’t mean it will continue – but we hope it will, ”said Sirard. “That would be extremely beneficial for California. We need the rain so badly, so we all hope and pray that the rain will continue. ”

The outlook foresees more rain and snow in the LA area this week, although the forecast models still do not agree on the exact time of the second storm or the amount of precipitation.

Sirard said the latest predictions suggest the storm will hit Los Angeles late Tuesday night and that the rain will be widespread across the region on Wednesday.

There is less agreement about what comes next.

“The jury isn’t sure what weather we’ll get on Thursday and Thursday nights,” Sirard said, but the system is potentially a “long-term event” that could stall over the area and create a rainy, snowy pattern for one a few days.

There is some evidence that the showers will last through Thursday and even through Friday morning, he said.

By Friday evening – New Year’s Eve – the rain and snowfall in Los Angeles are expected to subside and the year 2022 will begin with cool but dry conditions.

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