Environment & Science

Snow coats Southern California's mountains and high desert

File: A sudden hail storm leaves the appearance of falling snow, Monday, Feb. 26, 2018, in Sacramento.
File: A sudden hail storm leaves the appearance of falling snow, Monday, Feb. 26, 2018, in Sacramento.
Rich Pedroncelli/AP

Snow fell across Southern California mountains and in the high desert Tuesday as the first of the week's two predicted storms moved through the region.

The cold and unstable storm arrived overnight with bouts of hail and rain, sometimes heavy, and left a coat of white on mountain ranges east of Los Angeles and southward through the interior of San Diego County.

The scene was a marked change from a season that had been generally warmer than normal with precipitation far below average.

"It's a winter wonderland out there this morning!" the San Diego area National Weather Service office tweeted.

Snowplows worked to clear roads, and chains were required on some routes. Students in some high-elevation school districts were given a snow day.

In terms of rain, Los Angeles County was a big winner with a quarter-inch to a half-inch overnight.

In Santa Barbara County, however, there was little rain on the wildfire-scarred mountains above Montecito, where crews are still cleaning up after a deluge unleashed devastating debris flows in January.

Another much wetter storm was expected to enter California from the north late Wednesday and reach the southern half of the state late Thursday.

Santa Barbara County said the "pre-evacuation advisory" it had already issued for residents of its south coast would remain in effect for the next storm.