Friday Storm Could Make for a Mean Commute

The National Weather Service warns that wet roads across the region could lead to longer commutes for drivers.

Some gusty winds were whipping across the Antelope Valley today ahead of what forecasters say is a cold Pacific storm that will start dousing the Southland Friday in time for the morning commute and make traveling difficult on Interstate 5 in the area of the Grapevine.

The storm—the second this week—was approaching the Central Coast from the ocean today, then will head south, spread into Santa Barbara and Ventura counties tonight and then into L.A. County, bringing rain and snow Friday, according to the the National Weather Service.

Because of the forecast, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works will close public access to the following roadways in the Angeles National Forest about 11:30 p.m.:

  • Angeles Forest Highway from Aliso Canyon Road to Upper Big Tujunga Canyon Road; and
  • Upper Big Tujunga Canyon Road from Angeles Forest Highway to Angeles Crest Highway, also known as SR-2.

Access will be maintained for emergency vehicles only, officials said.

"The early-morning commute on Friday will likely be wet across the entire region," the NWS warned in an advisory. "Commuters should plan extra time to reach their destinations."

There is a slight chance of thunderstorms Friday. Any that develop could unleash downpours packing small hail, NWS forecasters said.

The storm is expected to generate between a half-inch and an inch of rain in coastal and valley areas, and between one and two inches in the foothills and mountains, the NWS reported.

The snow level will be between 4,500 and 5,000 feet tonight, dropping to between 3,500 and 4,500 feet by late Friday, according to an NWS advisory. Between eight and 14 inches of snow is expected, especially above 5,500 feet, it said.

"Some snowfall can also be expected along Interstate 5 over The Grapevine on Friday evening, which could hamper travel," according to the advisory. "The snowfall, along with gusty winds, will cause hazardous wintry driving conditions with poor visibility and snow-covered roads."

A winter storm warning will go into force in the Los Angeles and Ventura county portions of the San Gabriel Mountains at midnight tonight and remain in effect until 3 a.m. Saturday.

In the meantime, an "increasing southwesterly flow" ahead of the storm will generate gusty winds in the Antelope Valley today, according to an NWS advisory.

"The strongest winds are expected in the foothills and across western portions of the valley. Winds may decrease for a while tonight, but even stronger winds are possible Friday," it said.

The wind will blow in the Antelope Valley beginning this morning at speeds of between 25 and 35 miles per hour, gusting to 45 mph, and 50-mph gusts may occur in the foothills and the valley's western tier, according to the NWS.

The winds could disrupt travel on Pearblossom (138) Highway and the Antelope Valley (14) Freeway, with blowing dust and sand reducing visibility to zero, according to the NWS. A wind advisory will be in effect in the Antelope Valley from 11 this morning until 9 tonight.

The storm will not greatly alter temperatures. Highs mostly in the low 60s are forecast today amid partly cloudy skies. Temperatures will dip only slightly during Friday's rain and rise slightly when sunny skies return Saturday. But a warming trend will begin Sunday.


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