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The Hollywood sign in the cloudsImage source, Reuters

By Max Matza

BBC News, Seattle

Snowflakes have been falling in Los Angeles, including around its iconic Hollywood sign, as a winter storm tightens its icy grip on southern California this weekend.

San Francisco broke a 132-year record low temperature, dipping to 39F (4C) on Friday morning. 

Tens of millions of residents in the Golden state are under blizzard, wind and flood warnings.

The storms have blacked out nearly a million properties from coast to coast.

Image source, Getty Images

Image caption,

A child in Yosemite National Park

The West Coast’s main motorway, Interstate 5, was partially closed south of the Oregon border. 

Los Angeles – a city famed for its palm trees and sun-kissed boulevards – is under its first blizzard warning in more than three decades.

Image source, Reuters

Image caption,

A child plays with snow in Redwood City in the Bay Area near San Francisco

On Friday people in the city marvelled at the unfamiliar sight of a snow flurry around the Hollywood sign on Mount Lee. 

But elsewhere in the city flooding trapped cars in North Hollywood, and officials warned of widespread flooding in neighbourhoods throughout Los Angeles County.

Image source, Getty Images

Image caption,

Flooding caused chaos in North Hollywood in LA

The National Weather Service (NWS) warned that “significant mountain snows are likely Friday night into early Saturday, with major impacts to travel and infrastructure. 

“Downed trees and power lines are possible. Lower elevations may experience significant snowfall over areas where snow is unusual.”

Image source, Reuters

Image caption,

Snow covered vineyards in northern California

The NWS warned swimmers on the state’s world-famous beaches to beware of “strong rip currents and high surf”.

Mountain communities can expect snowfall between 2ft and 7ft (60cm and 2.1m). Avalanche warnings have been posted in some areas.

Image source, Getty Images

Image caption,

Women try to catch snowflakes on their tongues in Berkeley

Some weather forecasters around Los Angeles witnessed thunder snow, reports the LA Times. 

The rare phenomenon – combining lightning and blizzards – sometimes accompanies intense winter storms. 

Image source, Reuters

Image caption,

Snow fell in the mountains around San Francisco, further north

Other parts of California that will see a rare blanketing of snow include the Mojave Desert, the Santa Clarita Valley and the Inland Empire. 

Earlier in the week, the storm dumped snow farther north along the West Coast, including in the city of Portland, Oregon, which saw one its snowiest days on record. 

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Media caption,

BBC Weather explains thunder snow

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