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Below-normal temps in Southern California expected through weekend

January 11, 2013 12:00:00 AM PST
Temperatures in Southern California are expected to be 10 to 15 degrees below normal through the weekend. Local mountains temps are expected to dip to the single digits at night.

The forecast includes widespread sub-freezing readings for interior valleys, mountains and deserts. The National Weather Service said frost will also be possible for many coastal areas Friday night and again Saturday night. The mountains and deserts may see gusty winds of up to 50 mph, while the valleys get winds of up to 35 mph.

The Grapevine section of the 5 Freeway reopened Friday morning after snow and ice shut down one of the state's main north-south arteries.

The southbound lanes reopened around 7 a.m. with escorts from the California Highway Patrol. Restrictions for both directions were completely lifted by about 9 a.m.

CHP closed the 5 Freeway through the Grapevine around 4 p.m. Thursday. A snow storm pummeled the Tejon Pass, causing several accidents. More than 40 miles of the freeway from Parker Road in Castaic to Grapevine Road in Lebec were out of commission for more than 17 hours due to icy conditions.

Hundreds of drivers were stranded as a result of the closure. Cars and trucks lined up along Parker Road in Castaic, as drivers hunkered down for the night. Vacancies were rare in area motels.

The 5 Freeway was also a parking lot. Diana Harris and her family slept in their car.

"This is our first time happening, so it's cold out here, we have the car on with the heater," Harris said.

The Cajon Pass was also dealing with snow issues, although the CHP did not close it down.

Howver, the snow meant good news for skiers and snowboarders. If you are heading to the mountains, keep in mind that chains are required unless you have four-wheel drive, but you still need to carry chains.

The low temps make for ideal snow-making conditions, in addition to the natural, fresh powder on the slopes. All 26 lifts at Snow Summit will be operating throughout the weekend, according to Chris Riddle, Big Bear's marketing vice president.

Riddle said currently, the slopes are working with an approximate base of 24-36 inches of packed powder conditions.

"We've had four weeks now of just unprecedented cold weather in Big Bear, so it's been terrific snow and terrific snow-making - really unusual for this time of year," said Riddle.

The wintery weather is just what Snow Summit Ski Resort needs as it gets ready to celebrate its 60th anniversary this weekend and the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday next weekend.

The cold weather is not just hitting the mountains. The High Desert communities and lower elevations are getting hit as well.

Elsewhere across SoCal, temps were expected to remain on the lower side reaching 50s in Los Angeles and Orange counties, the Valleys and I.E., low-40s in the High Desert communities and mid-20s for the local mountains.

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