Snow strands motorists, prompts Grapevine shutdown

Snow that stranded scores of motorists in the Grapevine Sunday night, prompting the shutdown  of Interstate 5, might return Thursday night but until then the I-5 is expected to remain open.

“It’s going to be clear tonight, so it won’t be shut down,” California Highway Patrol Officer Stephan Brandt said shortly before 4:30 p.m. Monday, referring to the I-5.

Cold temperatures Sunday saw snow at lower altitudes in the Angeles National Forest.

CHP reported scores of traffic collisions and spinouts.

Despite the number of crashes and vehicles stuck in the snow and disabled at the side of the freeway, there was no report of serious injury, Brandt said.

About 2:30 a.m. Monday, heavy snow was reported on the I-5 just south of Gorman.

Within two hours, snow accumulating on the freeway was reported heavy from Lebec to Smokey Bear Road and along Highway 138 to Neenach.

At least four separate multi-vehicle traffic collisions happened on Highway 138.

Shortly after 7:30 a.m. a big rig was reported on its side near Quail Lake Road.

CHP officers began escorting groups of motorists along I-5.

By 9:30 a.m., all lanes of the freeway were opened for traffic, Brandt said.

“We have a chance of precipitation on Thursday,” said weather specialist Kathie Hoxsie, with the National Weather Service office in Oxnard.

“And, we have cold temperatures for that same time, so if we do get precipitation, we’ll have a low snow,” she said, referring to snow at lower altitudes.

Basically, if it snows Thursday night, the type of traffic moving through the Grapevine Sunday will be the traffic situation Thursday into Friday.

“It’ll be very similar to yesterday,” Hoxsie said Monday.

Operation Snowflake, which involves shutting down lanes through the Grapevine at Parker Road in Castaic, would happen if it starts to snow.   

Icy road conditions also prompted CHP to shut down Lake Hughes Road.

There were reports of motorists spinning out on the icy road surface on Old Ridge Route Road.

Caltrans was called in to plow the roads and apply sand, creating safer driving conditions.

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