LOS ANGELES, January 12, 2007 - A cold snap hit the Southland amid forecasts of record or near-record low temperatures Friday and Saturday night in metropolitan, coastal and valley areas of Los Angeles County.

Post-midnight lows early Friday included 16 in Woodland Hills and 8 in some mountain areas of Los Angeles County, including Warm Springs and Sandberg.

The National Weather Service issued a Freeze Warning, effective from 1 a.m. Saturday until 9 a.m. Sunday, for the Santa Monica Recreational Area and the San Fernando, San Gabriel and Santa Clarita valleys -- areas where a "hard freeze" was expected .

A Freeze Warning is issued when temperatures are expected to dip to 28 degrees or lower for a period of two hours or more.

NWS forecasters said near-record low temperatures are possible Friday and Saturday night in downtown Los Angeles and other metropolitan and coastal areas of the city, and record lows are possible in the San Fernando and San Gabriel valleys. The forecast for the Antelope Valley was for record or near- record lows.

The forecast highs through Saturday will range from the mid 40s to the mid 50s at low elevations and the 20s and 30s in mountain areas, along "very cold" lows -- below freezing, in some cases -- through Sunday morning.

The arctic blast hitting the Southland is the product of a very cold upper-level low-pressure system that originated in Alaska, according to the NWS.

"While this weather system is not expected to produce a lot of precipitation, it will likely bring very low snow levels to the region," said an NWS advisory.

The snow level was expected to dip to around 1,500 feet Friday morning.

"While any snow accumulation in the foothills and Antelope Valley is expected to be minimal, the mountains could experience a few inches of new snow with this very cold and unsettled weather pattern," according to the advisory.

It said the very low snow level could affect traffic on Interstate 5 from the Grapevine to Santa Clarita and Interstate 14 through Soledad Canyon, as well as highways in Ventura, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties.