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High winds, falling snow levels expected in Southern California

December 21, 2009 | 11:11 am

Snowstorms they are not, but high winds and falling snow levels may complicate holiday travel plans this week in Southern California, a weather official said.

A slight chance of showers is expected after midnight tonight into Tuesday morning as a dry cold front moves into the region, said weather specialist Stuart Seto with the National Weather Service.

Strong northerly winds are expected to begin Tuesday, with gusts reaching “damaging levels” of 60 mph in some mountain areas. High-wind watches are expected to go into effect Tuesday afternoon.

The strong winds and drop in snow levels down to 3,000 feet could create dangerous conditions in mountainous passages, such as the Grapevine section of Interstate 5, even though little snowfall is expected, Seto said.

High-profile vehicles and motorcycles will be most affected by the wind.

“There will be a definite wind-chill factor,” he said. “Anybody planning on traveling should pack extra blankets and emergency equipment, especially at higher elevations.”

After warm, 70-degree weather today, Los Angeles is expected to experience unusually chilly weather Tuesday and Wednesday with highs of 63 and 62 degrees, compared with normal highs of 68 this time of year.

Beginning Christmas Eve, temperatures are expected to rise for a toasty Christmas Day and weekend, with highs in the 70s.

-- Victoria Kim

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