Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station officials are warning drivers to take precaution driving up the Grapevine on Sunday as the temperature drops and the chances of snow make driving more difficult.
Stationed in Gorman, Deputy Steven Snover provided steps for drivers to stay safe as they make their way through the Grapevine to their destination. As of Sunday afternoon, clouds were gray and patchy without any fresh snow, but there was some slush on roads heading north, Snover said.
The National Weather Service issued a winter weather advisory warning of local accumulations of one to two inches of snow between 3,500 and 4,500 feet near Interstate 5 at the Grapevine. Slippery road conditions and limited visibility may also cause traffic delays and closures. The advisory will be in effect until 6 a.m. on Monday.
Snover’s first recommendation is to make a quick stop in Castaic for gas.
“Anytime you cross the Grapevine in the winter, my advice is to leave Castaic with a full tank of gas,” he said. “We’ve had days up here where pumps were dry and nobody could get fuel.”
In a scenario where the freeway closes, fuel in the engine is necessary for 30-minute increments to keep the occupants warm. Snover also suggests slightly lowering a window to get outside air flowing into the car. If conditions become worse and if the vehicle is unable to stay warm, bring blankets, food and water.
Before drivers use their snow chains, Snover said they should put them on in dry weather first, rather than scramble in colder weather with risky conditions.
“If you’ve never done it before, it’s not pleasant,” he said.
Snover added that drivers should be cautious when using Google Maps or smart phone GPS apps with regards to losing phone signal, elevation, sharp turns and narrow roads along surface streets. Those same streets can also change from paved to dirt roads hidden under snow and possibly creating mud or a layer of slush.
Snover also said there was an additional California Highway Patrol unit in the area in case conditions worsen. CHP Officer Elizabeth Kravig said there were no plans to escort drivers and their vehicles in case of closures or traffic, though they’re keeping watch of the conditions.