GORMAN (CBSLA) – The rain was expected to diminish Friday as a storm which brought heavy showers to the Southland’s lower elevations and snow to mountains was moving out after parking itself over the region for several days.
The 5 Freeway through the Grapevine in the Tejon Pass fully reopened late Thanksgiving night after being intermittently closed for most of the day Thursday due to blizzard-like conditions.
Drivers also contended with snowy, icy conditions that prompted bumper-to-bumper traffic over the 15 Freeway in the Cajon Pass Thursday. At one point, Caltrans closed the southbound 15 Freeway due to icy roads and a pile of accidents. Mark Smith told CBS2 he and his son were forced to turn around and spend the night in their truck.
“We ended up turning around and staying the night at the store with my son; just kept on starting the truck, and keeping it going, keeping it warm,” Smith said.
The snow also prompted Caltrans to shut down all roads leading up to Big Bear and enforce chain controls on all areas in the San Bernardino and San Gabriel mountains. As of late Friday morning, Highway 38 and Highway 330 to Big Bear were closed. Big Bear was only accessible through Highway 18 down from Lucerne Valley. Drivers were advised to avoid mountain area roads unless it was an emergency. This was proving a problem for skiers and snowboarders trying to get to Big Bear Mountain Resort, which opened for the season Thursday and reported 48 inches of new snow in the past two days.
A winter storm warning remained in effect through 10 p.m. Friday for the San Gabriel and San Bernardino mountains, including the communities of Wrightwood, Big Bear and Crestline. This all comes after the Antelope Valley communities of Palmdale and Lancaster saw unprecedented snowfall on Thanksgiving day.
The National Weather Service warned that “travel could be very difficult to impossible” in the San Gabriel Mountains as well as in the Antelope Valley Friday.
“If you must travel, keep an extra flashlight, food, and water in your vehicle in case of an emergency,” the NWS urged in a statement.
As of 11:45 a.m., more than 7,300 Southern California Edison customers were without power in San Bernardino and Riverside counties.
At this point everyone should know that if you are going to ANY mountain area today you will need chains. NO exceptions.
— Caltrans District 8 (@Caltrans8) November 29, 2019
By the time the storm fully clears out, it will have caused snow accumulations of 6 to 12 inches in most mountain areas and 3 to 6 inches at the Grapevine. In the Antelope Valley, 2 to 5 inches of snow are expected on the valley floor and 4 to 8 inches in the foothills, with the snow levels between 2,000 and 3,000 feet.
A 50 percent chance of showers exists Friday in Los Angeles and the San Gabriel Valley, but the chance of measurable precipitation was only 30 percent in the San Fernando, Santa Clarita and Antelope valleys.
On Thursday, 2.17 inches of rain were reported at Long Beach Airport, 1.8 inches at the San Gabriel Dam, 1.6 inches in El Monte, 1.25 inches in Van Nuys, 1.14 inches at L.A. City College, 1.01 inch in Malibu, .99 of an inch in Bel Air, .87 in Santa Monica and .78 at LAX.
In Orange County, Coto de Caza led with 2.65 inches, Huntington Beach and Lower Oso Creek 2.52, Laguna Beach 1.97, John Wayne Airport 1.87, Santa Ana 1.83 and Corona del Mar .91.
The storm prompted city and county officials in Los Angeles to open 24-hour shelters early for the homeless to escape the cold and rain. More than 500 new emergency shelter beds opened Wednesday in Los Angeles, with more opening across the city Thursday and Friday. Countywide, the Board of Supervisors voted to open seven shelters early, all of them by Friday.
The storm had also created the risk of mudslides and flash flooding to burn areas, including the region of Santa Barbara County just hit by the Cave Fire.
— Greg Mills (@GregMillsTVNews) November 29, 2019
(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)