An incoming winter storm promises to bring more snow to mountain communities across California that have already reported getting several inches of the white stuff overnight.
While the conditions on the mountain slopes may beckon powder-hungry skiers and snowboarders, the National Weather Service warns drivers to avoid the temptation to travel on mountain roads because of heavy snowfall expected to arrive starting Sunday.
By Friday morning, the rain had let up for most of Southern California but the coming system expected to arrive Sunday could be slower-moving — enabling it to dump larger amounts of rain on certain areas — than Thursday’s storm, setting the stage for potential hazards such as flooding, power outages and mudslides.
Snowboarder Claire Saddington got a jump on the next storm, making her way Friday morning to Mammoth Mountain ski resort with some friends. Saddington joked that she wasn't taking a "snow day" from work and that it just so happened that her planned vacation coincided with the recent storm.
"I'm definitely looking forward to taking advantage of the new snow that's up there," Saddington beamed during a phone call on her drive from Los Angeles to the resort. "Mammoth is driveable from L.A. And it has so much terrain for every level of skier."
Since the start of January, Mammoth Mountain has received about 72 inches of snow, which has created a nice foundation for the slopes, resort spokesperson Tim LeRoy said. That is paltry compared with last year, when the main lodge received 220 inches of snow. Still, LeRoy held out hope for this year's snow season.
"With this snowfall and the weather we’re expecting over the next week, we’re back to skiing and riding on the big snow that Mammoth is known for. It sets us up really well for the rest of the season," he added.
The latest storm system dropped several inches of snow above the 7,000-foot elevation. On Thursday night, the San Bernardino Mountains — home of Big Bear Mountain Resort — received about 3 inches of snow, with nearby Snow Valley and Snow Summit around the 7,000-foot elevation getting about 6 inches. By Friday morning, the storm dropped about 2 inches of snow on Pine Cove and just an inch on Idyllwild in Riverside County, according to the National Weather Service.
While a powerful storm is forecast to arrive in Southern California over the weekend, there's still some uncertainty about how much snow it will bring, said meteorologist Miguel Miller with the National Weather Service in San Diego. The San Gabriel, San Jacinto and San Bernardino mountains might see a heavy deluge of snow, but there are still many variables at play.
"The snowfall is pretty close to impossible to forecast at this time," Miller said about the storm. "This thing is changing its mind a few times a day. We are looking at some high snow levels on Monday, possibly Tuesday and beyond. Maybe a few feet, but it's still hard to say. There will be breaks between the snow and melting, so everything is not going to be stacking on top."
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.