Blizzards in the mountains, rain in the desert, flooding near coastal cities — and reports of a dusting of snow near the Hollywood Sign. That’s just some of the bizarre weather in California happening amid a weekend storm system that kicked off in recent days.
Perhaps most notably, a historic blizzard warning was still in effect across parts of Southern California, including in the Los Angeles region.
The peculiarity of the weather highlights the unique geography of Southern California, which includes massive cities bordering beaches on the coast — as well as towering mountains and vast deserts only a short drive away to the east.
Even when weather isn’t particularly weird in the region, temperatures and climate can drastically change within a matter of miles.
LATEST UPDATES:Blizzard warnings continue in California; severe storms forecast in Texas, Oklahoma: Weekend weather
But the weather was anything but normal this weekend.
Snow was creeping down the slopes bordering cities like Los Angeles and San Diego. Lightning temporarily closed Los Angeles County beaches. To the north, beaches near Santa Cruz near the San Francisco Bay Area saw a light dusting of snow. Yosemite National Park was closed through March 1 due to winter weather.
The National Weather Service warned travelers of disruptions in areas that don’t usually see snow.
“Areas in the Inland Empire near Fontana, Rialto, and Devore have now picked up more snow this winter than New York City and Philadelphia,” the National Weather Service in San Diego tweeted Saturday.
Even desert oasis Palm Springs was bracing for an atypically cold weekend of wind and rain in the Coachella Valley.
“This is probably the strangest winter we’ve had yet,” said Mindy Kelley, who has been wintering in Palm Springs for 25 years. “The chill and the winds together aren’t like anything we’ve felt here that I can remember.”
What’s the forecast for the weekend?
Southern California will continue to feel “significant impacts” on Saturday from the storm system hitting the region, the National Weather Service said.
Mountain elevations were forecast to have heavy snow with expected disruptions to travel and infrastructure, including a possibility for downed trees and power lines, the weather service said.
There is a risk of blizzard conditions due to strong winds in mountainous areas, and rivers are at risk of flooding.
“Temperatures will be well below normal over much of the region with sub-freezing morning lows likely along the coasts of Oregon, northern California, and central California,” the weather service also said.
Blizzard warnings — including the first-ever for the mountain areas of Big Bear, Lake Arrowhead and Wrightwood, and another covering the mountains of Los Angeles and Ventura counties — continued into Saturday afternoon. A winter storm warning will remain in effect in those areas until later in the weekend.
Other western states will see storm impacts later in the weekend, the weather service said, with parts of Texas and Kansas expected to be hit with “widespread showers, thunderstorms and isolated to scattered severe storms.”
Flood warning lifted for parts of Los Angeles
The weather service had warned of flash flooding in parts of Los Angeles with lower elevations overnight, including downtown L.A., Hollywood, Beverly Hills and surrounding suburbs.
Flash flooding did hit nearby Ventura County early Saturday, where up to 7 inches of rain fell, but by 6 a.m. Saturday, the weather service said the heavy rain in both counties had ended and that flash flooding was no longer expected to pose a threat, though the area was still under a flood watch.
Downtown Los Angeles had 2.29 inches of rainfall by the end of Friday, making it the wettest February day since 2003, according to AccuWeather.
Previously, the storm had brought snow as low as the Hollywood Sign, mudslides in areas and evacuation warnings in Ventura County.
On Saturday, sections of Interstate 5 in the Los Angeles area were shut down, due to flooding impacts.
The National Weather Service in Los Angeles said scattered showers and isolated thunderstorms should be expected through Saturday afternoon with “small hail, brief heavy showers possible.”
Contributing: Amanda Lee Myers and Claire Thornton, USA TODAY; The Palm Springs Desert Sun; The Associated Press