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Clear skies ahead for Southern California

January 3, 2011 |  7:37 am

The first commute day of 2011 proved a challenge for Southern California drivers Monday as snow and freezing temperatures closed the Grapevine on Interstate 5 and blocked other mountain roads.

California Highway Patrol officials said they were unsure when I-5 would be reopened.

But the National Weather Service says the region can look ahead to clear skies in the coming week.

Scattered showers will continue to fall on the Los Angeles area until early Monday afternoon but should clear up and make way for “cool and dry conditions through the weekend,” said Bonnie Bartling, a weather specialist with the National Weather Service.

A low-pressure system brought cold air from the Gulf of Alaska and the most recent bout of drizzle, Bartling said.

“The rain is winding down though,” she said. “But we will still have snow in the mountains and the low valleys.”

The National Weather Service issued a hazardous weather outlook Monday for area mountains and valleys.

“Travel through the mountains of Los Angeles and Ventura counties, as well as the Antelope and the Santa Clarita valleys, will be very hazardous [Monday] due to moderate snowfall,” the outlook warned.

Temperatures should edge up into the low- to mid-60s by Thursday, which “will be closer to our normal weather conditions for winter,” Bartling said.


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Photo: A light haze hangs over Hollywood as hikers walk along a Griffith Park trail on Dec. 27, 2010. Credit: Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times