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California. sees snow, wind in late winter storm during chilly weekend

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POSTED March 18, 2012 5:17 p.m.

 

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A winter storm tracking across California on Sunday delighted skiers with more than a foot of fresh snow in the mountains, but made conditions especially chilly for runners in the Los Angeles Marathon and left thousands without power.

"It's very cool and raw out there," said David Sweet, meteorologist with the National Weather Service. "It's time to break out the winter coats."

Southern California Edison crews were working to restore electricity to about 7,500 customers in pockets of Los Angeles, Ventura and Orange counties Sunday morning, said utility spokeswoman Lauren Bartlett.

More than 14,000 lost power on Saturday afternoon due to weather and non-weather related conditions, she said.

Conditions for motorists on the Interstate 5 through the Cajon Pass were precarious into Sunday, with snow blowing across the highway and about a foot of snow expected to accumulate through the day, said meteorologist Cynthia Palmer.

The California Highway Patrol escorted vehicles through the pass in the wee hours of Sunday morning, but the highway opened several hours later. Caltrans, however, advised motorists to carry chains.

Hesperia in the high desert was also expected to get a dusting of about an inch of snow as unseasonably cold temperatures persisted through the region.

"They'll be lucky to hit freezing in the higher elevations today," Palmer said.

Big Bear Mountain Resort reported 18 to 22 inches of fresh powder had fallen by 5:30 a.m. Sunday.

In Los Angeles, rain gave way to cold sunshine in time for more than 20,000 runners sprinting the Los Angeles Marathon's 26.2-mile route from Dodger Stadium to Santa Monica.

Winds of 20 to 30 mph were making cool temperatures, expected to reach the mid 50s, even chillier. Gusts of up to 45 mph were expected through the afternoon, Sweet said.

Organizers were ready with 5,000 plastic trash bags that runners could don to keep warm and some 23,000 Mylar blankets to help guard against hypothermia, said marathon Chief Operating Officer Nick Curl.

Heating buses were also standing by at the 10 medical stations along the route and the finish line.

In Northern California, rain tapered off but left a high surf advisory with a 15- to 17-foot swell expected. The National Weather Service says there's a chance of occasional 20-foot breakers through Sunday.

In the Sierra, a winter advisory remains in place until Sunday evening.

 

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