Forecasters said a slow-moving winter storm would intensify in California on Friday, a day after blanketing large swaths of the West with snow and a wintry mix that disrupted travel on several major arteries.
Several rounds will produce blizzard conditions with heavy snow and strong winds over high terrain and mountain passes, including across the Sierra Nevada and southern California. The National Weather Service said Start Friday.
The southern part of the state will have the biggest chance of rain, heavy snow and strong winds on Friday, with wintry weather beginning in some areas on Thursday. Several inches of rain may fall on the coasts and valleys, and heavy snow, up to seven feet, may fall at elevations of 4,500 feet above sea level. Areas below 2,500 feet are expected to receive up to six inches. Wind gusts of 60 to 75 mph will also be a factor throughout the day.
As of early Friday, more than 60,000 customers in California, mostly in the northern part of the state, were without power. According to PowerOutage.us.
Millions of people in the West, mainly California and Nevada, were under winter weather warnings. The weather service issued a winter storm warning for the mountains of Los Angeles, Ventura and Santa Barbara counties until early Friday morning, warning of “extremely hazardous mountain conditions.” A rare blizzard warning is in place for the same areas Friday through Saturday.
“This blizzard warning is something our community is not used to hearing,” said Jackie Ruiz, public information officer for the Santa Barbara County Office of Emergency Management. He said the county’s message is simple: “If you don’t have to go out, stay home.”
On Thursday, the storm shut down parts of Oregon, stranding motorists for hours. Others abandoned their vehicles On the side of the road. Travel disruptions persisted early Friday with the Oregon Department of Transportation Announcing closures On at least three highways. On Wednesday, the storm produced 10.8 inches of snow in Portland, giving the city its second snowfall, where forecasters Tweeted. Many colleges, universities and school districts Closed Friday.
The snowfall also caused hazardous road conditions In Wyomingleading to road closures in the southern part of the state.
The West Coast is one of the hardest places in the country to predict weather because of the lack of monitoring in the Pacific Ocean, and the intensity of the storm caught many — including forecasters — by surprise.
Mark Bestrella, director of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works, said officials are urging residents in northern parts of the county to shelter in place starting Friday because of road closures expected over the weekend. “Basically ready for a snow day” is rare and exciting, but can still be dangerous.
“It’s not a weekend for the beach,” he said. “What we’re really suggesting is that everybody hang tight and get the snow off, and then we can get out.”
“It’s all adding up to a big snow event,” said Andrew Roark, senior forecaster at the Weather Service’s office in Los Angeles.
A person standing in downtown Los Angeles can see a 10,600-foot peak that usually has snow on it, Mr. Roark said. On Saturday, that snow will extend down the mountain, showing more snow than a typical winter storm.
But don’t expect the Hollywood sign to disappear into the snow-capped mountains.
“The Hollywood Hills are spared the snow, but the San Gabriels behind the Hollywood sign certainly aren’t,” said Mr. Roark said. (Weather Service Office in Los Angeles Later confirmed (Snow, or graupel, which looks like hail and has a soft and wet texture, was seen falling near where the signs sit Thursday morning.)
In the Sierra Nevada, there was already snow cover Above average At this time of year, more snow is in the forecast. While snow is nothing new to the area, forecasters in Reno, Nev., called for a major storm that could disrupt travel.
“While we cannot definitively say that the road will be closed, nor do we have any control over this, past events have certainly brought about similar impacts.” forecasters said.
There is a high risk of avalanches across the Sierra Nevada on Friday, according to Avalanche Prediction Center.
This won’t be the last winter storm to hit the area; Forecasters from all weather service offices in California are predicting another storm early next week.