Southland residents will likely wake up Wednesday morning to snow-capped mountains at low elevations, but the sun is expected to break through by afternoon.

Dark skies and wind threatened Tuesday, with the heaviest rains and snow expected overnight, weather forecasters said.

Before the system moves out of the area, up to an inch of rain is expected to fall, along with occasional thunderstorms, hail and a heavy punch of snow coating the mountain areas.

A winter weather warning called for up to 6 inches of snow at elevations as low as 2,500 feet, with another 2 inches falling at the 5,000-foot level, according to AccuWeather meteorologist Brian Edwards.

Accumulating snow will most likely affect travel on major roadways into or through the mountains, including portions of Interstate 5 and portions of Highway 14 through the Soledad Pass between the Santa Clarita Valley and the Antelope Valley, officials say.

Snow is expected to fall so low on local mountains that the Ortega Highway in eastern Orange County - which crests at 2,600 feet just west of Lake Elsinore - has been added to a list of mountain passes that might be impacted, officials with the National Weather Service said.

North of Los Angeles, heavy snow and blizzard winds are expected along Interstate 5, which is above the 2,000-foot level for about 40 miles in the mountains north of Castaic.


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Sixty-mph winds were forecast for the Grapevine, and isolated snow-thunderstorms could develop and drop more than a foot of snow in some places, the NWS warned.

Public works and highway officials issued warnings to drivers and in some cases closed mountain roads, including: Big Tujunga Road between Vogel Flats Road and Angeles Forest Highway; the Angeles Forest from Aliso Canyon to the Angeles Crest Highway; and Upper Big Tujunga from Angeles Forest Highway to Angeles Crest Highway.

Icy road conditions prompted the call for chain restrictions on a fourth road in the forest, Mount Wilson Red Box Road from Video Road to Angeles Crest Highway, according to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works.

Battering winds along the Golden State (5) Freeway through the Grapevine prompted Caltrans to issue a warning to motorists in campers, recreational vehicles and large trucks.

Caltrans and L.A. County public works officials will continue to monitor the storm before lifting any warnings or putting any roads back in service, officials said Tuesday.

Along with the wet and windy conditions along the coast and in the inland valley areas, temperatures will have a chilly edge.

Temperatures dropped to the mid-40s along the coast Tuesday and were anchored in the upper 30s in the valleys, Edwards said.

Today's temperatures should reach about 68 degrees along the coast, but linger in the mid-50s inland.

Tonight, temperatures are expected to fall again below freezing, while the coast will be in the low 40s, Edwards said, adding that conditions will remain frigid Thursday and Friday before warming to moderate weather over the weekend.

Staff Writer Brian Charles contributed to this report. joe.segura@presstelegram.com562-714-2167, twitter.com/JoeSeguraPT