LOS ANGELES (AP) — The main highway between Southern and Central California was shut Sunday in both directions as blowing snow and ice from another winter storm made driving conditions treacherous for scores of travelers trying to return home at the end of a holiday weekend.
The Grapevine area of Interstate 5 was closed indefinitely around 1 p.m. after cars began sliding in lanes, said California Highway Patrol Officer Ed Jacobs. No major crashes were reported.
Vehicles were being detoured onto routes 14 and 58 through Lancaster and Mojave, though snow was also falling and threatening closures there, Jacobs said.
Despite the shutdown, trucker Robert Cranmer was headed north toward Interstate 5 as he attempted to take a payload from Southern California to Oakland.
“If it’s snowing and it’s closed, it’s closed,” Cranmer told the Riverside Press-Enterprise with a laugh as he fueled his truck in Colton, and pointed toward his big rig’s sleeping compartment. “There’s an advantage to keeping a bedroom right behind you.”
Winds were gusting to 90 miles in mountain areas and snow was accumulating at elevations as low as 1,500 feet. Between four and eight inches was expected in some areas. Forecasters said six inches was likely in Lancaster and at other spots on the Antelope Valley floor, which is about 2,300 feet above sea level.
By mid-afternoon, heavy snow made driving difficult in the Santa Clarita area, and steady rain had moved across the coastal plains and valleys.
More than an inch of rain was expected in the Los Angeles area through Monday, with temperatures dipping into the 40s.
It’s the latest in a series of winter storms that saturated Southern California for much of December.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)