UPDATE: Grapevine shut down amid snowstorm, hail hits parts of SCV

Traffic backs up on the northbound lanes of Interstate 5 near Castaic Monday evening due to snow-related closures. January 25, 2021. Bobby Block / The Signal.

As another winter storm hit the Santa Clarita Valley and surrounding areas, Interstate 5 was shut down through the Grapevine Monday.

By 12:45 p.m., the two right lanes of both northbound and southbound Interstate 5 had been reopened, with California Highway Patrol escorting traffic through the snow-covered pass, but just three hours later, a full closure was reinstated as snow once again started to fall.

CHP and Caltrans made the decision to shut down traffic through the Grapevine early Monday morning due to snow, with “Operation Snowflake” going into effect, prompting crews to open the gate north of Lake Hughes Road in Castaic, which allows drivers to turn around and travel back in the other direction, according to Officer Josh Greengard, spokesman for the Newhall-area CHP Office.

Over the weekend and on Monday, parts of the SCV received some hail, which some were calling snow, according to John Dumas, a National Weather Service meteorologist. 

“(Residents) were saying, ‘It snowed’ — and it didn’t, but the Grapevine sure did get some snow,” Dumas said.

A traffic collision was reported to be blocking the median turnaround gate around 8:15 a.m., with traffic being diverted to State Route 126 for an unknown duration, according to Caltrans.

Areas of Interstate 5 along the Grapevine are covered with snow on Monday, Jan. 25, 2021. Courtesy of Caltrans

The northbound detour is westbound State Route 126 to northbound Highway 101, with Caltrans reminding drivers to slow down on slick roads and expect delays.

While the rain is expected to subside after Monday in the SCV, snow showers are expected to continue in the mountains through early Tuesday morning, bringing with it the chance of the Grapevine shutting down again.

Tuesday is set to provide a break in the weather before the winter storms return through the remainder of the week, Dumas added.

“There’s a big storm system approaching the area, and it’s going to be pointing at the Central Coast on Wednesday,” Dumas said.

The storm, which is expected to be the biggest rain producer so far this season, is set to continue to move over the local area Thursday and Friday, with approximately 2 inches of rain set to hit the SCV.

“If this storm track changes a little bit to the east, (the SCV) could be getting significantly more than that 2 inches,” Dumas said. “If it moves a little bit more north, maybe instead of 2, it’s more like 1-and-a-half (inches).”

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