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SoCal Snow Level Plunges Ahead Of New Year’s Eve

Low-pressure system may snarl NYE traffic
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(Getty Images)

(Getty Images)

LOS ANGELES (CBS) — Forecasters warned on Wednesday that snow expected at elevations as low as 2,000 feet could close Interstate 5 along the Grapevine section in advance of New Year’s Eve.

The rain arrived in Los Angeles about 3 a.m and continued steadily through the morning commute, contributing to dozens of accidents and adding to December’s rainfall of total of more than 9 inches.

Cold air filling in behind the low-pressure system responsible for the rain is expected to produce snow on-and-off along north-facing slopes through Thursday, and the two major interstate passes serving the Los Angeles Basin could be closed. Forecasters warned that the Grapevine section of I-5 could get 4-8 inches of snow.

Both the Tejon Pass along I-5 and the Cajon Pass along I-15 top out at more than 4,000 feet.

Snow Summit’s Chris Riddle shares some tips with KFWB’s Michael Shappee for skiers and snowboarders looking to hit the slopes this New Year’s weekend.

Angelenos headed to Big Bear for snowboarding and skiing are urged to take Highway 38 through Redlands, since Highway 330 washed out last week.

“One advantage Big Bear has over other mountain resorts is that there are multiple ways to get up here,” Dan McKernan, Big Bear’s director of marketing.

From the Los Angeles area, take the San Bernardino (10) Freeway east to Redlands and exit at Orange Street. Take Orange north to Lugonia Avenue and turn right to Highway 38, which will take you into Big Bear.

Those traveling from the desert and northern Los Angeles County should take Highway 18 through Lucerne Valley. Take Interstate 15 to Victorville and exit at Bear Valley Road. Drive east to Lucerne Valley, then turn right on Highway 18, which will take you into Big Bear.

From the low desert, take Highway 247 north to Highway 18, turn left on 18 and follow it to Big Bear.

Oversize vehicles are not allowed on Highway 18, but buses and trucks can use Highway 18 through Crestline, which is also known as the Rim of the World Highway.

The local ski resorts are expected to get about 2 feet of snow.

This December has been one of the wettest ones in more than 100 years.

In 1898, a record 15 inches of rain fell in Los Angeles, which is close to the annual average for the city.

(©2010 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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