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Sunny Weekend Gives Way To Winter Storm, Snow For L.A. Area

Update: The National Weather Service has upgraded this to a "winter storm warning." First posted at 9:03 a.m.

We hope you enjoyed that almost summer-like weekend.

Early spring!, you exclaimed. Punxsutawney Phil is right, you yelled with joy.

Not so fast.

Winter is returning to Los Angeles with a vengeance. Prepare for rain, snow and, of course, bad drivers:

The National Weather Service says "heavy snowfall" will hit area mountains starting Tuesday.

Snow levels will plummet as low as 2,000 feet Tuesday night, the service says. Icy roads are expected in mountain and desert communities. You know what that means?

Sunny Weekend Gives Way To Winter Storm, Snow For L.A. Area

Peter Bear / Flickr

Road closures.

The 5 freeway's Grapevine from northern Los Angeles County to Kern County will likely be "impacted" (e.g. shut down, as usual), says the service.

The L.A. County Department of Public Works planned a slew of precautionary mountain road closures, including Angeles Forest Highway, Angeles Crest Highway and Big Tujunga Canyon Road, starting at 3 a.m.. Details are here.

Sunny Weekend Gives Way To Winter Storm, Snow For L.A. Area

LA County

Yeah, the NWS officially declared a "winter storm watch" for sunny Southern California.

The service says area mountains, including the San Bernardino range, could see as much as ... 16 inches of snow.

The culprit is a low-pressure system from the gulf of Alaska. The storm will be "very cold" and will actually start to hit the L.A. basin with drizzle likely as early as tonight, says the NWS.

Rain will continue through Wednesday, forecasters say.

Those surfing lessons you were hoping to take? Maybe next month.

[Update at 3:18 p.m.]: The NWS has upgraded the situation this afternoon from a "watch" to a "winter storm warning" that will be in effect from 2 p.m. Tuesday to 10 a.m. Wednesday:

Sunny Weekend Gives Way To Winter Storm, Snow For L.A. Area

Google map shows areas (in brown) where the most intense precipitation is expected.

A winter storm will develop and strengthen offshore tonight and move ashore Tuesday. Snow and blowing snow will create travel problems in the Mountains of Ventura and Los Angeles Counties Tuesday through Wednesday morning. Snow showers are expected to develop in the mountains late tonight through morning, then showers will increase in coverage and intensity Tuesday afternoon and evening. Precipitation may become heavy at times late Tuesday and Tuesday night, and there is a slight chance of thunderstorms as well.

Get details and tips about what you should do to prepare here.

[@dennisjromero / djromero@laweekly.com / @LAWeeklyNews]