LOS ANGELES (NewsNation Now) — Rain, hail and snow fell Monday evening as Southern California saw its first significant storm of the season.
Snowfall of up to 12 inches hit Mount Baldy, stranding drivers as a winter storm dumped snow throughout the area.
Heavy snow stranded bumper to bumper traffic late into Monday night on the road up to Mount Baldy, the massive peak that rises to 10,066 feet (3,068 meters) in the San Gabriel Mountains northeast of Los Angeles.
Mount Baldy Resort said on its website that while all the snow was good news, about 90% of its employees got stuck in that jam.
The resort cautioned snow enthusiasts that a significant amount of avalanche control work would need to be done before any skiing, and even then, predicted winds could interfere with operations.
The road remained closed after dawn Tuesday and would-be skiers and boarders waited in a long line of cars hoping to get up to the slopes.
Lightning flashed and thunder pounded as the storm front swept across the region in the middle of the night, unleashing downpours followed by bands of rain that continued throughout the day.
“The good news was the front was moving quickly which prevented any serious flooding from occurring,” the National Weather Service‘s Los Angeles region office said. More than 1.5 inches of rain fell in downtown LA, while some areas saw more than 2 inches.
Localized roadway flooding and many traffic accidents were reported, and authorities along the coast cautioned potential beachgoers that water would likely be contaminated by bacteria, chemicals and trash washed down drains, creeks and rivers.
Firefighters used an inflatable boat to rescue a man and woman stranded by stormwater on a small island in the middle of the Los Angeles River north of downtown. Two people were also rescued from rushing water from a flood control channel in Orange County.
Snowfall accumulations in the region’s mountains were expected to range from 6 inches to 12 inches at elevations above 5,000 feet. Chains were required on some mountain routes east of Los Angeles after vehicles got stuck in snow and traffic was backed up for miles.
The system also brought snow to the Sierra Nevada and showers to parts of Northern California on the heels of a Christmas Day storm.