A cold storm took aim at Southern California today, threatening a mix of rain and snow as low as the 2,500-foot level as strong, gusty winds lash the region, forecasters said.
In the meantime, frost conditions or hard freezes -- a threat to pets and plants -- were reported across the Southland this morning.
A frost advisory was effect until 9 a.m. in the Santa Monica Mountain Recreational Area and the San Fernando and Santa Clarita valleys, and and a freeze warning has been declared in the Antelope Valley until 10 a.m.
Snowfalls are expected to start late tonight or early Saturday morning, tapering off Saturday afternoon or evening, according to a National Weather Service advisory.
The storm will be accompanied by gusty north-to-northwest winds, with the strongest expected Saturday night in the area of The Grapevine.
A winter weather advisory, denoting the expectation of limited visibility as a result of falling and wind-whipped snow, will go into effect in the mountains of Santa Barbara County at 4 a.m. Saturday and two hours later in the San Gabriel mountains in Los Angeles and Ventura counties, expiring at 3 a.m. Sunday.
In Los Angeles County, the snowfall will start early Saturday morning, peak late morning and early afternoon and turn to scattered showers by late afternoon, the advisory warned, adding: "Showers will continue through the early morning hours Sunday, especially near the Kern County line."
Between 3 and 6 inches of snow are expected to accumulate above 4,500 feet and 1-3 inches between 3,000 and 4,500 feet, according to the advisory. A mix of rain and snow is possible as low as 2,500 feet, it said.
At the same time, the area will be lashed by west-to-northwest winds of between 15 and 30 mph, gusting to 55 mph, with the strongest occurring from Saturday afternoon into Sunday morning around the Interstate 5 corridor and over higher peaks, it said.
"The combination of low-elevation snow and gusty winds will make travel hazardous through the mountains," the advisory said, specifically warning of light accumulation on Interstate 5 through the Tejon Pass and Angeles Crest Highway in the San Gabriels.
The National Weather Service forecast highs today of 43 on Mount Wilson; 50 in Palmdale and Lancaster; 53 in Saugus; 57 in Avalon; 58 in Pasadena and San Gabriel; 59 in Woodland Hills and Anaheim; and 61 in downtown L.A., Long Beach, Newport Beach and at LAX.
While today's forecast projected sunny or partly cloudy skies, Saturday's largely called for showers or rain.
-- City News Service