Heavy rain, snow causes closure of Grapevine, Cajon Pass

Heavy rain, snow, and strong winds are making travel and outdoor activities very difficult, as a strong winter storm hit the Southland and is expected to keep its grip on the area for many hours, forecasters said.

Snow associated with this cold winter storm will continue through Thursday over the Ventura and Los Angeles County mountains and the Antelope Valley, where winter storm warnings remain in effect.The National WeatherService says one to two feet of snow is expected in the mountains, six to 10inches in the foothills, and three to six inches on the Antelope Valley floor.

Scattered light rain and showers fell in the Los Angeles Basin by late Christmas afternoon, but the brunt of the storm hit after 9 p.m. and was showing signs of continuing through mid-morning or early afternoon today, National Weather Service Meteorologist Kristin Stewart said.

The California Highway Patrol shut down the Golden State (5) Freeway between Lake Hughes Road and Grapevine Road over the Grapevine pass at about 10:30 p.m. Wednesday due to multiple stuck vehicles and heavy snowfall.

Meanwhile, Caltrans announced State Route 2 (Angeles Crest Hwy) is closed indefinitely from a mile east of Newcomb's Ranch to Islip Saddle/Hwy 39 junction due to weather.

Throughout the early morning, the California Highway Patrol issued SigAlerts shutting down lanes on the Long Beach (710) and the Antelope Valley (14) freeways to allow flooding to subside in lanes. 

Caltrans is advising drivers avoid the Cajon Pass on the I-15 as heavy snow made driving conditions harsh. Caltrans is currently working to plow snow in the area. 

The I-15 is closed in both directions from Cleghorn to Ranchero Rd. 

The NWS reported that the deluge resulted in record-breaking rain in Long Beach on Christmas Day, with 1.03 inches through midnight.

A winter storm warning remains in effect until 10 p.m. Thursday. Snow levels could drop to 2,500 feet and accumulations could be 1-2 feet at resorts and 6-12 inches around the I-5 Grapevine, with at least 1-2 inches on the road itself, forecasters said.

The low snow level also means Highway 14 and the Antelope Valley could have snow accumulation, Stewart said. Even Lancaster and Palmdale could get snow.

The San Gabriel Mountains and foothills could get up to 4 inches of rain. A wind advisory remained in effect until 10 p.m. tonight because strong east-southeast winds are expected with the storm. Winds of 15-25 mph are forecast in the L.A. Basin with gusts of 40-50 mph and mountain gusts could hit 50-60 mph, which could make travel treacherous.