The National Weather Service has issued a flood watch and wind advisory that will affect the Santa Clarita Valley starting on Friday.
While snow may be at the front of many residents’ minds, the NWS is more concerned about the coming rain and wind. Approximately four to six inches of rain is expected to fall on the valley starting Thursday night, accompanied by wind that could reach up to 50 miles per hour.
As the storm approaches temperatures will rise with it — eliminating the possibility of snow on the valley floor by raising the elevation needed for snow to 3,000 feet.
However, this does mean that road closures on Interstate 5 and Highway 14 are likely — due to what may become blizzard-like conditions, turning into rainstorm conditions in these corridors. As the storm makes its way over the area, the snow threshold will increase with it — meaning a combination of snow, then heavy rain and winds will make driving conditions more dangerous.
On Thursday, the California Highway Patrol was assisting drivers on Highway 14 from Pearblossom Highway to Avenue S in Palmdale.
On Wednesday and Thursday, snow and hail were reported in parts of Agua Dulce and Acton. The I-5 corridor through the Tejon Pass also received a healthy dusting.
Carol Smith, a meteorologist with the NWS’s Oxnard Station, said residents of SCV should be more concerned with flooding than the possibility of snow.
“You’ll be looking at more possible flooding issues, than snow issues. That’s more of what you’re gonna be worried about,” said Smith. “Flooding of rivers, probably the smaller rivers, certainly creeks and streams, any kind of low lying, prone location.”
Although it may be tantalizing to take a weekend day trip to see the snow, Smith said residents should wait until the storm passes to do so.
“Going out and driving around, certainly driving into the mountains, is not recommended. I think there’s going to be a lot of closures,” said Smith. “Trying to go see the snow, it sounds sort of appealing, but you have to be really prepared. And in fact, I think a lot of it’s going to be super treacherous and a lot of roads are going to end up closing, so it’s going to be a nightmare.”
The flood watch will take effect on Friday at 10 a.m. and will last until Saturday at 6 p.m. The wind advisory will take effect at the same time as the flood watch, but will last until Saturday morning at 1 a.m.