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Snow closes Grapevine as series of powerful storms hits Southern California

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Interstate 5 through the Grapevine was closed due to snow Monday morning as Southern California was hit by the latest in a series of storms that could cause mudslides later this week.

Heavy snow was falling in the Grapevine, prompting the California Highway Patrol to close the north-south route and escort remaining vehicles. It’s unclear when the freeway will reopen.

Snow levels are expected to drop as low as 1,500 feet, with 1 to 3 inches in the Antelope Valley foothills and a dusting possible in the Santa Clarita Valley. Forecasters were calling for 2 to 4 inches of snow along mountain passes and up to 8 inches at higher elevations.

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Strong winds are expected along the coast in Los Angeles and Ventura counties, with gusts of 40 to 50 mph, and in the Antelope Valley, with gusts potentially exceeding 60 mph.

Forecasters are calling for large surf, with waves of 8 to 12 feet on west-facing beaches Monday and Tuesday.

The heaviest precipitation is expected Tuesday night into Thursday. That system will connect to an atmospheric river, a stream of high-moisture-content air that creates a sort of pipeline of water, and dump 2 to 3 inches of rain over much of L.A. County, said Kathy Hoxsie, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Oxnard.

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That comes after the first in the series of storms sprinkled up to half an inch of rain over the area Saturday into Sunday.

Snowfall ranged from a dusting along the Grapevine to as much as 2 inches at higher elevations. In Malibu, residents shared social media images on Saturday of impromptu sledding sessions, a rarity for the coastal area. But what looked like snow there was actually small-pellet hail, Hoxsie said.

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