We’ve been having interesting weather in California for a few years now. The state is in a drought, which is typical, but it’s been a particularly bad drought despite the precipitation. However, in So Cal, it’s been colder longer for at least two years. Then one month of summer tries to suffocate us with an unbearable heatwave. Right when it looks as if we’re back on track, we’ll get another heatwave in the middle of a cold snap. So, you know – climate change.
This season has been wet – very wet. And the good kind of wet because it rained, soaked in, then rained again so our reservoirs are filling up. But then Gaia unleashed hell. We had a series of storms that flooded several parts of California. The usual targets, like Santa Barbara and Malibu, were hit hard. But several ‘safe’ cities, like mine, started flooding as well. Following, things returned to normal – cold, but calm. I guess Gaia is bored again because she’s opened up her can of crazy for us one more time, this time with blizzard warnings for Los Angeles County. These are the the first blizzard warnings issued in this area since 1989.
A powerful winter storm began moving into Southern California on Wednesday, with snow expected at unusually low levels and blizzard conditions coming to the mountains.
Some areas already felt the impact Tuesday, with the 15 Freeway near the California-Nevada line shut down overnight because of dangerous conditions, leaving drivers stuck in their cars for hours.
In Big Bear, snow was already falling Wednesday afternoon and people were stocking up on food and supplies to hunker down for days. Drivers were stopping to put on chains as Caltrans prepared to have crews out 24 hours a day to keep the roads clear.
The warning is scheduled to take effect at 4 a.m. Friday and will last until 4 p.m. Saturday. The NWS predicts from 2 to 5 feet of snow could accumulate in the mountains above 4,000 feet, falling even as heavy winds gust up to 75 mph.
Below that, at elevations of 2,000 to 4,000 feet, about 6-12 inches of snow are expected.
The last such warning for the area was issued on Feb. 4, 1989.
“Even if this is not our 1st, this is a dangerous storm. Do not travel in the mountains,” on Friday and Saturday, the agency said on Twitter.
Visibility at that time is expected to be very low and travel is not advised through those areas.
Passes like the Grapevine and the Cajon Pass are likely to also see dangerous driving conditions. Drivers are advised to bring chains and a full tank of gas and be prepared for difficult weather and road closures.
“They’re expecting snow to drop as low as 1,000 feet,” said Mark Bishoff with Caltrans. “The top of the Grapevine is a little over 4,000 feet, so they’re expecting it to be impacted by snow.”
“If you can stay home, then stay home. That’s the best choice that you can make. If you do have to go, then make sure your car is prepped. Make sure the tires are inflated properly, your windshield (wipers) and your headlights are working.”
Bishoff added California law requires headlights to be on when windshield wipers are in use.
He also recommends drivers have a kit with them in their car if they do need to hit the road: a blanket, cellphone, charger, water and snacks.
I included so much of the news report because there is some important information there. Including things I didn’t know, like it was law to have your headlights on when the wipers are in use – whoops. (My lights are automatic, so they’re always on.) These warnings are not for the people who live in the mountains, they know how to get through a blizzard. They’re for those coming to the mountains to take advantage of the storm. If you watch the news reports, they talked to people who are already stranded on the highways because they have the wrong chains for their tires. The wrong chains on a tire will punch a hole in your wheel-well. Roads like the Grapevine that take travelers from LA to the Central Valley do not have an outlet. Drivers can’t turn around, stuck means stuck, in freezing conditions. There was a girl from San Diego in the news clip who said they’d hoped to ski and get out by 1 or 2pm. If not, they’d “just stay in Big Bear.” But if everyone is stuck in Big Bear, eventually there won’t be anywhere to stay. I hope VRBO left all their keys under the mats. And all of this is to go skiing/boarding. But even if the mountain’s open, it’ll likely be a white-out and that’s not worth it either. Please stay home. It’ll be safer for everyone, including those that will have to rescue you people when their gamble doesn’t pay off.
While the mountains are looking at blizzards, the cities are facing the winds the article discussed. They started Tuesday and were biblical. Our street had the trash cans on the curb, and it looked like the cans had had a rager and tried to make it back to work the next morning. Temps are back in the 40s/50s. The rain’s just started but we are on flood watch until Saturday.
And I know this is not the point, but at least this cold weather means boot season is extended and honestly, I could not be happier. I just hope my roof holds. Stay safe, my friends.
Photo Credit: Instagram