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Sunday, May 19, 2024

Los Angeles Gets ‘First Ever’ Blizzard Warning

While heavy snow and strong winds will tend to dominate the headlines for this winter storm, one other major concern will be the threat of heavy rainfall and flooding for some of the immediate coastal ranges of southern California below the snow level.

An unusually cold and slow-moving winter storm is expected to bring very heavy snowfall and strong winds to California and adjacent areas of the West through Saturday, the National Weather Service says. Heavy rainfall and flooding will be possible for parts of southern California and heavy snow is possible for Northwest mountains later this weekend.

The Service has issued a blizzard warning, which it believes to be the first it has issued for Los Angeles. 

The Los Angeles County Augmented Winter Shelter program is activated through Sunday, February 26. People Experiencing Homelessness can access all Winter Shelters and the Augmented Winter Shelter Program by calling 2-1-1.

The City of Los Angeles Emergency Management Department is providing important updates and local impacts of the February storm as information becomes available.

The California Department of Transportation advises drivers to stay off the roads if they can during the storms. The Department has already witnessed spinouts due to adverse weather conditions.

The National Weather Service says multiple rounds of heavy snowfall coupled with strong winds will lead to blizzard conditions over some of the higher terrain and mountain passes, including the central and southern Sierra Nevada, and the high terrain of Transverse Range in southern California. This may lead to downed trees and power lines which will contribute to power outage concerns. 

This storm system will be unusually cold, and snow levels will be very low. In fact, areas very close to the Pacific Coast and also into the interior valleys that are not accustomed to seeing snow, may see some accumulating snowfall. Snowfall should accumulate to as much as 3 to 5 feet for the Sierra Nevada, with locally heavier totals for the highest peaks. Lesser amounts of 1 to 2 feet are forecast elsewhere across portions of the Great Basin and into the Four Corners region as the storm begins to pivot into the Southwest by Sunday.

While heavy snow and strong winds will tend to dominate the headlines for this winter storm, one other major concern will be the threat of heavy rainfall and flooding for some of the immediate coastal ranges of southern California below the snow level. Several inches of rain are expected locally, and this will drive locally significant runoff concerns. In fact, the Weather Prediction Center has depicted a Moderate Risk of excessive rainfall for portions of the Transverse Range.

Another system will arrive over the Pacific Northwest late Saturday night into Sunday, bringing with it another round of Pacific moisture. Moderate to heavy snow may develop over portions of the Cascades and Northern Rockies.

Meanwhile, high temperatures broke the 80-degree mark in parts of the D.C. region on Feb. 23, beating records as far back as 1874.

Find tips on preparing for winter weather at Ready.gov

author avatar
Kylie Bielby
Kylie Bielby has more than 20 years' experience in reporting and editing a wide range of security topics, covering geopolitical and policy analysis to international and country-specific trends and events. Before joining GTSC's Homeland Security Today staff, she was an editor and contributor for Jane's, and a columnist and managing editor for security and counter-terror publications.
Kylie Bielby
Kylie Bielby
Kylie Bielby has more than 20 years' experience in reporting and editing a wide range of security topics, covering geopolitical and policy analysis to international and country-specific trends and events. Before joining GTSC's Homeland Security Today staff, she was an editor and contributor for Jane's, and a columnist and managing editor for security and counter-terror publications.

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