LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — It was a rare sighting in Southern California on Thursday as snow fell, making for icy conditions and forcing the closure of several major freeways.
The 5 Freeway through the Grapevine was closed in both directions early Thursday afternoon after snow fell to levels as low as 1,500 feet. The freeway reopened hours later.
Snowfall was also reported in Calabasas, Sylmar, Northridge, Pasadena, Rancho Cucamonga, and even Malibu.
Employees at the Malibu Surf Shack have seen their fair share of big waves, and of course rain, but certainly not snow locally.
“I was just like, ‘Wait why is the rain white?’ And I looked at the car hoods, and sure enough, there was snow sticking to it,” Arlen Krouse said. “Lasted about 30 seconds, but it was crazy. I’ve never seen that here ever.”
Actor Jerry O’Connell captured some of the white stuff falling near his Calabasas home.
Some students at Cal State Northridge were more than a little unnerved by the weather.
With temperatures gradually dropping, a cold evening was the end to a day of snow, sleet and hail all across Santa Clarita.
“This has got to be one of the coldest winters we’ve had here,” said Newhall resident Ken Chase.
There was a sudden hail storm around 2 p.m. in Valencia, catching people who were running errands off guard.
But there was plenty of snow to make kids and adults happy.
“As the snow came down, it was flurries. It was all on our grass and it made our whole grass look white, it was so beautiful,” said Canyon Country resident Tamala Crawford. “I was going to bring my dogs in because I was scared for them being too cold, but it was great.”
Acton in the Antelope Valley was also briefly covered in snow before most of it melted by late morning.
Multiple collisions due to weather, meanwhile, were reported along Interstate 15 in both directions between Baker and Nipton, according to San Bernardino County Fire officials. Southbound lanes of the 15 were closed Thursday night, but northbound lanes remained open.
Just before 1 p.m., snow was falling at the 1,500-feet level in the Santa Monica Mountains above Malibu, where Los Angeles County Fire Department Air Operations Section officials warned that roads there “will be slippery.”
State Route 39 / San Gabriel Canyon Road was closed in both directions north of Crystal Lake Road to State Route 2 in the Angeles National Forest due to mud and rock slides, according to Caltrans.
Light snowfall was reported in the Cajon Pass as California Highway Patrol units kept traffic deliberately slow with occasional traffic breaks. But with 2 to 4 inches of snow forecast for the top of the Cajon Summit, drivers were advised to bring chains.
The snow took many passing through the area by surprise.
“Coming from Texas, and this being California known as heat and beaches and stuff, I wasn’t prepared for this,” visitor Chris Lambert said as he looked at his snow-crusted windshield.
The 74 Highway between Lake Elsinore and San Juan Capistrano prompted the California Highway Patrol to shut down the 30-mile corridor. The hard closure went into effect about 4:20 p.m., after CHP officers encountered heavy snow on segments of the two-lane route, which connects Riverside and Orange counties via the Cleveland National Forest.
Thursday was a snow day for several schools in the mountains and desert areas, including Bear Valley, Snowline, and Morongo unified school districts.
(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)