Southern California mountains blanketed with snow; winter weather advisory issued

RUNNING SPRINGS, Calif. (KABC) -- Many in the mountain regions of the Southland woke up to a winter wonderland Thursday morning after a heavy snowstorm moved into the area overnight.

A winter storm warning was downgraded to a winter weather advisory, which is set to expire at 7 p.m. for mountain communities at elevations higher than 5,000 feet.

Running Springs, which is just over 6,000 feet, saw several inches of fresh powder. Snowplows worked overnight to clear roadways in Lake Arrowhead. Mount Pinos saw the most snow, with 8 to 16 inches, according to the National Weather Service.

Authorities established tire-chain checkpoints on roads leading to mountain areas, where freezing temperatures are creating slick, treacherous driving conditions.

"You see the blacktop and you think, 'Oh, I don't need chains,'" chain installer Joel Sunderland said. "You could go up 3/4 of a mile and the road could just be iced up. There's a reason why they're out here, making chain control."

Mountain High Resort is expected to begin its ski season this weekend. Announcements from resorts in the Big Bear area are forthcoming.
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