AP NEWS

Wintry storm brings rain, hail, snow to Southern California

November 20, 2019 GMT
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Hail accumulates as a downpour hits in downtown Los Angeles Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2019. Hail and heavy rain fell as powerful thunderstorms swept into Southern California, flooding roads and snarling rush hour traffic. Authorities evacuated the Santa Monica Pier and beaches around greater Los Angeles because of lightning. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)
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Hail accumulates as a downpour hits in downtown Los Angeles Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2019. Hail and heavy rain fell as powerful thunderstorms swept into Southern California, flooding roads and snarling rush hour traffic. Authorities evacuated the Santa Monica Pier and beaches around greater Los Angeles because of lightning. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Just days after roasting under record high temperatures, Southern California got a wintry blast Wednesday as a powerful storm brought rain, hail, wind and snow.

Wet conditions made for a slippery commute in Los Angeles while heavy flooding stranded drivers in desert areas to the east.

The Santa Monica Pier and miles of beaches in either direction were evacuated because of lightning strikes.

The cold low-pressure system prompted the National Weather Service to issue flood watches for inland communities. Winter storm warnings were posted for the mountains, where vehicles were required to use chains because of icy roads.

Local ski areas rejoiced at the forecast of several inches of snow.

“Woo hoo!” tweeted the Mountain High resort in the San Gabriel Mountains east of Los Angeles. “Fresh layer of snow overnight. More on the way today.”

Pea-sized hail blanketed downtown Los Angeles sidewalks before being washed away by a deluge of rain. Some areas could see more than 3 inches (7.6 centimeters) of rain.

About 2 inches (6 centimeters) fell in the San Diego area Tuesday, and more was expected.

Voluntary evacuation warnings were in place for canyon communities of Orange and Riverside counties, where mudslides were possible along wildfire burn scars.

Sunday and Monday saw summerlike temperatures in the 90s (above 33 Celsius), but highs on Wednesday stayed in the low 60s (about 16 Celsius).

The storms will move out Thursday, when warmer, drier conditions are expected to return.