Hope everyone enjoyed the few sunny days we got for Christmas, because another Pacific storm is scheduled to blow into Southwest California Tuesday night into Wednesday.
The National Weather Service is warning residents to be prepared for the possibility of winter weather conditions on Wednesday with the potential for very strong winds and cold temperatures Wednesday night into Thursday, creating treacherous driving conditions across the I-5 corridor near the Grapevine.
The storm is expected to bring rain, mountain snow and gusty winds overnight Tuesday and continuing into the morning and midday Wednesday.
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Showers will likely linger Wednesday night into Thursday morning across the north-facing mountains and possibly the foothills of the Antelope Valley.
This is expected to be a quick-moving storm, with many areas expected to experience most of their rainfall in a four to six hour period.
Ventura and Los Angeles counties can expect between one half and one inch of rain. Strong southwest winds will accompany the cold front, with the strongest in the mountains and the Antelope Valley, where gusts of over 50 MPH are possible.
The strong southwest low level flow will initially bring high snow levels on Tuesday night, generally above 7,000 feet. Snow levels are expected to lower through the day Wednesday, especially behind the cold front, falling to around 5,000 feet by afternoon and lowering rapidly Wednesday night.
As a surge of very cold air enters into the forecast area from the north, snow levels could fall as low as 2,000 feet by late Wednesday night, bringing the risk for significant snow shower activity across Interstate 5 in the areas north of Castaic to the Grapevine.
The foothills of the Antelope Valley and State Route 14 through the Soledad Canyon and north-facing mountain slopes near the Kern County line, including the Grapevine area, will likely see more substantial snow accumulations, possibly in the four to eight inch range.
Icy conditions will be likely across mountain areas Wednesday night through Thursday night, adding to treacherous driving conditions. The most significant impacts of this weather system could be Wednesday night through Thursday night when there will be potential for widespread and damaging northerly winds and very cold temperatures. Damaging wind gusts over 70 MPH will be possible in the north-south mountain passes of the Santa Ynez range and I-5 corridor will be especially vulnerable. Other areas at risk for potentially damaging winds include the Santa Barbara south cost, Antelope Valley and Santa Clarita Valley.
The strong winds have the potential to down power lines and trees, especially considering the recent rain-soaked soils. In addition, the strong winds combined with a very cold air mass could bring the coldest wind chill readings of the season so far, perhaps reaching dangerous levels in the mountains. Thursday will likely bring unusually cold daytime highs across Southern California with many valley areas struggling to reach 50 degrees by Thursday night. Residents are warned to be alert for potential frost and freeze conditions. People traveling this week should closely monitor the latest National Weather Service forecasts and plan accordingly.