Flooding on Sierra Highway prompts road closure, evacuations

Heavy rain in the SCV swelled storm drains. Signal photo by Dan Watson.
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Flooding caused by heavy rain forced the closure of Sierra Highway, between Mirror Way and Hillfield Lane, Thursday morning, and the evacuation of at least two homes.

Rain-drenched roadways in and around the Santa Clarita Valley contributed to several spin-outs and solo vehicle traffic collisions including a crash in the southbound lanes of Highway 14, just north of Escondido Canyon Road, and a crash on a snowy Highway 138 near Pines Road, which shut down traffic in both directions.

Mudslides were reported in some of the more remote canyons, but on none of the major thoroughfares, Officer Josh Greengard of the California Highway Patrol said Thursday.

“With this wet weather people need to slow down,” he said. “Braking distance gets further away.”

CHP closed the on-ramp to the northbound lanes of I-5 on Lake Hughes.

Shortly after 10 a.m., following a constant downpour of rain in the SCV, a stretch of Sierra Highway became flooded, forcing its closure.

“We are working on getting it open,” said Shirley Miller, spokeswoman for the SCV Sheriff’s Station.

About noon, northbound lanes on Sierra Highway were opened to traffic, while one lane of the southbound highway remained closed. The second southbound highway lane permitted only intermittent traffic, said Sgt. Chris Shoemaker, who oversees the Traffic Section of the SCV Sheriff’s Station.

“We’ve had a few crashes,” he said, noting no reports of injury.

Deputies evacuated homes along the 17800 block of Sierra Highway.

On ramp closed to the northbound I-5 at Lake Hughes Road. Signal photo by Dan Watson


The CHP, meanwhile, issued snow-prompted road closures for SCV highways as part of its Operation Snowflake.

The CHP received notification from Caltrans that snow levels are expected to fall below both the 4,144-foot elevation of the Tejon Pass on I-5 and the 3,258-foot elevation of the Escondido Summit on Highway 14, Greengard said Thursday.

“Consequently, I-5 and Highway 14 travel could be impacted near the Grapevine and other low-elevation mountain passes and portions of the Antelope Valley as well as Acton/Agua Dulce areas, respectively, due to snow accumulations and icy road conditions,” he said.

“Historically, on very rare occasions the snow level has dropped low enough to require the closure of Highway 14 in Acton/Agua Dulce areas,” Greengard said.

“Motorists who plan on traveling through the area should familiarize themselves with potential alternate routes,” he said.

Generally, alternate routes for travelers are Highway 126 to Highway 101 to Highway 166 to I-5, or Highway 14 to Highway 58 to Highway 99. At this time, this is a closure warning only. The freeways remain open except the I-5, which is shut down from Parker Road in Castaic to Grapevine Road in Kern County, as of 12:45 p.m. Thursday.

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Crash on Highway 138 near Gorman. Photo for The Signal by Jeff Zimmerman


Storm that brought rain to the SCV delivered snow near Gorman Thursday. Photo for The Signal by Jeff Zimmerman

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