LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A cold storm out of Canada brought snow to the Antelope Valley and at low elevations in the San Gabriel Mountains Tuesday.

The snow level started at 4,000 feet Tuesday, followed by widespread snow showers that began in the afternoon, according to a National Weather Service statement.

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The snow level was expected to drop rapidly to 2,000 feet by midnight, with between one and two inches of snow expected across the foothills north of Pearblossom Highway (state Route 138) and the Antelope Valley (14) Freeway, according to the NWS. The same amount of snow hit Interstate 5 through The Grapevine.

The heaviest snowfall – between two and four inches – will be over the north-facing slopes of the eastern San Gabriels, with the snowfall tapering off Wednesday morning, setting Southern California up for a cold but dry New Year’s Day on Thursday.

A winter weather advisory — replacing the more serious winter storm watch that had been promised Monday — was expected to take effect tonight in the Antelope Valley, but forecasters said the bulk of the storm’s moisture will likely remain east of the area. A winter weather advisory is still scheduled to take effect at 3 p.m. and continue until 4 a.m. Wednesday for Los Angeles County mountains, excluding the Santa Monica range.

Also present were strong winds — 15-25 mph with gusts of up to 45 mph in the Antelope Valley and of between 25 and 40 mph with 60-mph gusts in the San Gabriels, forecasters said.

“The combination of snow and wind will lead to very hazardous conditions for anyone venturing outside” and onto mountain roads, warned the NWS statement. “Roads will be icy, and road closures are a strong possibility,” including at the 14, the 138 and Interstate 5 through The Grapevine. “Be prepared for snow-covered roads and limited visibility, and use caution while driving,” it said.

Wind chill readings will fall to single digits in the mountains overnight, forecasters said.

Little precipitation is expected outside the Antelope Valley and the San Gabriels, forecasters said. A tenth of an inch of rain could fall in valley areas outside the Antelope Valley, they said.

Because of the weather system slated to slide into the Southland today, New Year’s Day will be chilly, with freezing and near-freezing temperatures expected, NWS forecasters said.

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The wind is expected to be a big part of this week’s weather. A wind advisory will be in force from 3 p.m. until noon Wednesday in the San Fernando Valley and from 9 p.m. until noon Wednesday in the San Gabriel Valley and in what the weather service regards as the L.A. County coastal zone, which includes beach cities, Downtown L.A. and the rest of metropolitan Los Angeles, and the Hollywood Hills.

In the San Fernando Valley, forecasters are expecting winds of between 20 and 30 mpg, gusting to 55 mph from this afternoon through noon Wednesday. In the San Gabriel Valley and in the L.A. coastal zone, the winds will also blow at between 20 and 30 mph but gusts of only 40 mph are expected, NWS forecasters said.

Also scheduled in the San Fernando and San Gabriel valleys is a freeze warning — from Wednesday evening through Thursday morning.

In Orange County, a wind advisory will be in force from 10 p.m. until 4 Wednesday afternoon. Winds of between 20 and 30 mph, with 50-mph gusts, are expected starting Tuesday night, forecasters said.

Traffic was also affected by the weather through Tuesday evening.

CalTrans ultimately closed southbound 15 freeway lanes in the Cajon pass, as wind, rain and snow intermittently passed through the area. Cars who were involved in accidents, or that were stuck in snow, resulted in backup for miles along the freeway.

A number of motorists took the opportunity to actually get out of their cars, which by Tuesday night were required to have chains in the area, and play in the snow.

They were not the only motorists to experience the weather’s worst; CHP reported Tuesday night that up to 300 cars may be stranded on mountain roads throughout San Bernardino.

To the North, the Grapevine was seeing a mix of wind and snow, with Cuddy Valley Road near Fort Tejon being closed by CHP.

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