Treacherous driving through the Grapevine due to rain and snow have prompted the California Highway Patrol to shut down Interstate 5 at Parker Road.
Operation Snowflake — the formal name given the standing order to shut down the I-5 under certain weather conditions — went into effect Monday morning after the CHP continued to receive reports of crashes in the Grapevine.
“Operation Snowflake has been implemented for the duration of the storm,” CHP officer Josh Greengard said.
“The Newhall CHP will be closing the I-5 northbound at Parker Road, all traffic will be directed to turn around at Parker Road and all motorists will be advised to take alternate routes to their destinations.
“At 11:50 (a.m.), we received a call from the Bakersfield communication center that snow was sticking on the Grapevine,” Greengard said.
“The CHP Newhall Area is in the process of shutting down the I-5 freeway on our side of the hill. The I-5 at the Tejon Pass is impassable, due to snow and/or ice, for an unknown duration,” he said early Monday afternoon.
According to Greengard, the primary alternate route in this situation is SR-126 to U.S. 101 to SR-166 to I-5, or SR-14 to SR-58 to SR-99. Motorists are asked to bear in mind that alternate routes are subject to closures with short or zero notice.
“It is imperative motorists verify, for themselves, the status of alternate route(s), prior to travel,” he said.
The ice and snow in the Grapevine are expected to continue.
Interstate 5 wasn’t the only roadway shut down in light of this week’s rain.
County officials announced late Monday afternoon they would shut down Bouquet Canyon Road from today to Thursday in light of the storm.
Based on the forecast of rainy conditions in local mountain areas, Los Angeles County Public Works will close public access to a portion of Bouquet Canyon Road located within the Angeles National Forest, Public Works spokesman Edel Vizcarra announced late Monday in a news release.
The closure will start at 2 p.m. today and remain in effect through Thursday — or until county officials have inspected the road and declared it safe for motorists, he wrote in the news release.
Local access between the gates, approximately 6 miles south of Spunky Canyon Road — near mile marker 12.55 — to the southern boundary of the Angeles National Forest — near mile marker 15.97, 2 miles north of Vasquez Canyon Road — will not be allowed until the closure is lifted.
Flooding was reported Monday on Bouquet Canyon Road north of Vasquez Canyon Road. Flooding also was reported in Placerita Canyon.
Week of rain
According to the National Weather Service, SCV residents can expect a week of rain, with the sun forecast to return Friday.
Monday saw a higher-than-usual number of minor traffic collisions due to the rain.
“There has been a little increase in the number of incidents,” said Shirley Miller, spokeswoman for the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station. “It always happens when it rains.
“People tend to drive the same way they do when it’s not raining,” she said.
On Monday morning, the Los Angeles County Health Officer issued a news release announcing he would be extending a cold weather alert due to the National Weather Service’s forecast for low temperatures.
Wind chill temperatures are expected to be below 32 degrees. Affected areas include:
Antelope Valley – today.
Los Angeles County Mountain areas – today through Friday.
“Children, the elderly, and people with disabilities or special medical needs are especially vulnerable during cold weather. Extra precaution should be taken to ensure they don’t get too cold when they are outside,” Los Angeles County Health Officer Dr. Muntu Davis said.
“There are places where people can go to stay warm, such as shelters or other public facilities. We also want to remind people not to use stoves, barbecues or ovens to heat their homes due to the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning,” Davis said.
County health officials had some advice for people venturing into the cold:
Dress in layers of warm clothing if you plan to be outdoors.
Protect head, hands and feet from the cold by wearing a hat, scarf, gloves and socks.
Check on and help family members, friends and neighbors with limited mobility and limited access to heat, such as seniors or those who are ill. Check on them frequently.
If you have pets, bring them indoors and do not leave them outside overnight.