For the first time in nearly four decades, California has been put under a rare blizzard warning, while a winter storm the National Weather Service described as a “dangerous” is expected to hit parts of the state with high winds, freezing temperatures — and “copious” amounts of snow.
“We are still on track for our DANGEROUS winter storm,” NWS Los Angeles said in an alert tweeted Wednesday evening.
This marks the state’s first blizzard warning since 1989 and affects areas near the Ventura County Mountains and Los Angeles County Mountains from 4 a.m. Friday to 4 p.m. Saturday, according to the NWS. residents of the area can expect heavy snow, winds of up to 75 mph, and visibility at near zero.
“Expect blizzard conditions in the mountains with FEET of snowfall. A few inches of rain are expected in lower elevations. Be weather ready!” NWS Los Angeles warned.
By Saturday night, meteorologists are expecting between two and five feet of snow at elevations around 4,000 feet. Elevations above that could see twice as much.
Carol Smith, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Oxnard, said that Mt. Baldy, the highest peak in Los Angeles County, could see around eight feet of snow this week.
Smith told the Los Angeles Times that it’s difficult to estimate exactly when and how much snow will fall on specific peaks, but she said Mt. Baldy would likely see around 96 inches of snow.
“It’s going to be a ton of snow, there’s going to be a lot of wind,” Smith told the outlet.
NWS meteorologists said that most major mountain passes and regions around 2,000-4,000 feet can expect between six and 12 inches of snow.
“A major winter storm is set to bring copious amounts of snow to many of California’s mountain ranges, including southwest Oregon & southern Nevada,” NWS Weather Prediction Center said in a tweet Thursday. “Blizzard conditions are expected in the southern Sierra Nevada & the Transverse Ranges on Friday.”
The NWS also warned that travel in affected areas may be difficult or impossible, with the strong winds potentially damaging or knocking down trees, advising that people only travel in emergencies.
“If you must travel, have a winter survival kit with you. If you get stranded, stay with your vehicle,” NWS cautioned. There have already been reports of snowfall on the I-15 freeway in San Bernardino.
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