A Snowed-in So Cal

From the Los Angeles Times:
Travelers are trapped at the Grapevine; I-5 is shut indefinitely. More snow, rain on the way.
By Amanda Covarrubias and Molly Hennessy-Fiske, Los Angeles Times Staff Writers
January 25, 2008
A fierce winter storm left the Southland’s mountain regions battered and snow-crusted Thursday, and hundreds of motorists found themselves stranded along Interstate 5 in the Tejon Pass after public safety officials ordered the key artery closed indefinitely as they braced for yet another icy tempest.

Frustrated commuters and truckers spent Wednesday night and Thursday morning trapped in the notorious Grapevine area north of Los Angeles before the California Highway Patrol finally cleared them to move in the early afternoon. Some residents of lower mountain elevations were snowed in, while heavy rains caused traffic accidents and minor flooding in Southern California lowlands.

Storm hits Southland

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"We just had to park there and sleep," said trucker Ted Dale, who was snowed in Wednesday night near Gorman. He was heading from Los Angeles to Seattle with a load of pineapples Wednesday night when the CHP ordered him to stop his 18-wheeler on the freeway. "There was no place to turn around."

About 30 passengers on a Greyhound bus heading from Southern California to Sacramento were forced to sleep in the vehicle overnight in the middle of the freeway. They were still stranded in Gorman 24 hours later because their driver had reached his limit on the number of hours he was allowed to operate the vehicle, and no fresh drivers could reach them to take over, the passengers said.

"This is worse than jail," said passenger Ilario Cazarez, a dance promoter from Los Angeles who was trying to make his way to Portland.

About 70,000 motorists travel through the serpentine Grapevine each day. Closure of the state’s major north-south artery caused major traffic headaches.

In addition to causing traffic mayhem, snow forced scientists at Mount Wilson Observatory to shut down their telescopes as staff pulled out snowplows that spent last winter in storage.

In another strange climate turn late Thursday night, the National Weather Service issued two tornado warnings for southwest Los Angeles County, including Malibu, Pacific Palisades and the Topanga area. The weather service said a strong rotating thunderstorm was spotted about 9 p.m. over the eastern half of Malibu, moving north-northeast at about 20 mph.

Much earlier in the day, Los Angeles County saw light snowfall as low as 3,000 feet, with up to a foot sticking at 3,500 feet and 18 inches sticking at 4,500 to 5,500 feet, according to Stuart Seto, a weather specialist with the National Weather Service in Oxnard. Nearly 2 feet of snow fell in the Lockwood Valley.

Forecasters expected another 1 to 2 feet of snow to fall above 4,000 feet by tonight with a few inches falling between 2,500 and 4,000 feet. The mountains of Los Angeles, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties can expect 5 to 10 inches of rain; coastal and valley areas 2 to 5 inches.

This week’s snow is a product of cold storms moving south from the Gulf of Alaska and is expected to raise precipitation totals closer to normal annual levels, said state climatologist Michael Anderson. Last year, the Southland experienced its worst dry spell in more than a century.

Now a tropical storm laden with moist air is headed north from Mexico. It is likely to drop rain and snow in the mountains this weekend and drive up snow totals, Anderson said.

In the San Bernardino National Forest on Thursday, ski resorts were basking under several feet of powder.

"It’s a winter wonderland right now, awesome conditions, perfect packed powder and more on the way," said Chris Riddle, director of marketing at Big Bear Mountain Resorts, which got 10 inches of snow Thursday.

Even non-skiers can appreciate the benefits of what is shaping up to be a normal winter, Riddle said.

"Fresh snow in Southern California is kind of like the Holy Grail," he said. "It’s good for skiing, great for the forest; helps replenish the water table. It’s good for all of us."

Back in the town of Castaic, where truckers gathered en masse to wait for Interstate 5 to reopen, Arturo Sarabia, 44, of Los Angeles was buying coffee and pastries. After spending the night in the cab of their big rigs, some truckers couldn’t start their engines in the morning because it was so cold. Others found that their brakes had frozen.

"For me it was OK," said Sarabia, who was hauling produce to the San Francisco Bay Area from Los Angeles. "I had a heater and everything, and I left my truck running all night long."

Along California 138, which connects to Interstate 5 near Gorman, about half a dozen truckers had pulled over Thursday morning, waiting for the CHP to reopen the freeway.

Shane Nadarevic, 25, of New York, who was carrying a load of graphics equipment from Dallas to San Francisco, passed the time by sleeping in his truck.

He said CHP officers had come by that morning with hot soup and snacks, and he was taking the delay in stride.

"It’s a job," Nadarevic said. "You can’t really expect everything to go your way."

I’m sure that all of you in the Midwest and East coast are looking forward to this coming your way!

Here is what the 101 Freeway looked like this morning:
It’s gonna be a long, wet weekend!
Oh, and as for Bert the Tortoise??  He’s snug and cozy hibernating under the enclosed patio!
As an aside….  I’ve been try SOO hard to get a particular song on my space but JUST can’t do it!!  So if you have access to Limewire, MP3 Rocket, Yahoo Jukebox or another music site, please look up and listen to the Jimmy Buffett song ‘Brand New Country Star’!!  I’ve been trying to download it for DAYS!!  And if you find it??  Email me the stinking URL!  I have the CD but it’s NOT helping!  OH!!  It’s raining again!!  Go figure!!
There was a big avalanche here tonight at the Mountain High ski resort today and at least 2 are dead!  NOT good to go skiing ‘out of bounds’, but this guy worked for the Ski Patrol and should have known better.  Sad….. 
Massive mudslides here and many homes crashing down!  Being ‘Flatlanders’, we are fine!  Just sad to watch since they ARE still neighbors!
And guess what??  Here come the next 2 storms!!  And then there’s the fire at the Monte Carlo Hotel in Las Vegas!  I think the Apocalypse is coming SOON!!!
I’m watching the violence in Kenya, Africa (600 people killed today, by Machete!!!) and it pisses me off!!  What is wrong with these people ????? GRRRRRR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Sorry but I need to change songs!   OK?   A Fav!!   Older Jimmy Buffett.  LOVE this song!!
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16 Responses to A Snowed-in So Cal

  1. Zeynep says:

    Awww, it is a long post… I need ome time for it. Later… Tired… Lol… xx

  2. Angie says:

    good ol’ bert!
    I’m taking the littles to a hockey game tonight…snow or not! we need the break!
    hope you’re okay too!

  3. Jade says:

    Las Vegas strip is burning?!Bert sounds cold…Where’s my tv?!

  4. Kat says:

    Strange weather you are having!!
    We are experiencing a dry spell. Cold, but sunny. Very strange for us Washingtonians. We’re used to our rain!
    You can keep it though! 😀
    Huggggg =a=rooos

  5. renay says:

    so sorry to hear about all of the snow you are getting . along iwth the rain.

  6. Twila says:

    Well, you may have the snow but I’m betting we’ve had the COLD to go with the snow here this week!  I’ll trade ya’ temps!  Although this weekend thru Monday or Tuesday are supposed to be almost balmy with highs in the upper 30s and low 40s!  WOOHOO! Break out the shorts & t-shirts!  And thanks for the warning about the next storms.  I think I’m really ready to be DONE with winter now.

  7. CAROL says:

    WOW.. I been that route on a bus before and LORDIE I would hate to have to sleep on a bus with all those wild
    characters.. can you imagine the smell? EWW.. I left a link on my space for a get away this weekend. HOW’s ABOUT HAWAII? We are gonna have a ball!! JOIN IN and bring the MRS S and the dogs!!!   : )

  8. Silver says:

    Hi Bob, thanks for comment. Looks like awful weather ur having there atm.. stay safe

  9. ♥ Aimee says:

    the world never fails to dissapoint us…
    *~*   :o) if you don’t have a smile to give today…  :o) I will give you one of mine…  :o)   *~*

  10. Sue says:

    It’s been raining here since the day before yesterday, but it finally let up.  You can actually see the sky this morning, so it must be the lull before the next one comes in.  Hope your porch doesn’t leak with all this water we’re getting.  Sorry you couldn’t make it to the cabin, but probably just as well, cause you might not make it back right away!  Stay in and stay warm and dry!  A good day for soup!

  11. Jill says:

    my clan was skiing mountain high yesterday…..thankfully they were at the west resort away from the avalanche…..so strange to talk about avalanches at our local mountains.
    my daughter spent last spring in Kenya….she’s hurting for the people she met….she was amazed at their exuberance for life and is shocked at how quickly things have changed there…she hopes to be able to go back sometime
    life does take strange and sudden turns….that’s why we strongly recommend doing spontaneous things as often as possible =D

  12. RANDY- NICHOLE says:


  13. KatSoup says:

    Glad to hear you are keeping your head above water.  I know that when it doesnt rain for a long time then it does, it moves huge pieces of earth. 
    I am off to find the Buffet song.

  14. EbonyWyvernDragon says:

    HAY YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!I took a pic of some bonsai trees in NYC a week ago JUST FOR YOU! – but have you been by to see them – NOOOOO! HRUMPH…………. fine – sit on your snow-covered freeway…….. see if I care!Pouting Dragon 🙂

  15. Laoch says:

    Ugh, be careful

  16. Ice says:

    "This is worse than jail," said passenger Ilario Cazarez, a dance promoter from Los Angeles who was trying to make his way to Portland.
    I have never been in jail, but what could be worse?
    Maybe I am just one of those paranoid people.

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