Thursday, July 31, 2014         

 Print   Email   Comment | View 6 Comments   Most Popular   Save   Post   Retweet

Snow shuts major California highway for hours

By Julie Watson

Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 07:34 a.m. HST, Jan 11, 2013

SAN DIEGO » The California Highway Patrol today partially reopened a 40-mile stretch of Interstate 5 north of Los Angeles that was closed by snow as a cold snap sent temperatures plummeting throughout the state.

The CHP began escorting southbound cars through the Grapevine section of the major north-south route after a 16-hour shutdown that prompted hundreds of truckers and other motorists to pull over and spend the night by the side of the road.

"There must have been 1,000 Mack trucks lined up," Heidi Blood, 40, said early today.

Blood and her three youngsters had been visiting Orange County and set out at 4:30 a.m. today to head back north to their home in Kentfield when they found the road shut down.

"I usually watch the news but I went to a spin class instead. I learned my lesson," she said.

Blood had to give an insulin shot in the car to her 13-year-old blind, diabetic dog, Barney.

To pass the time, the family watched movies and read on their iPads, turning on the car every 30 minutes to use the heater.

"We're watching 'Nannie McPhee' in the car right now," Blood said. "I only have enough juice for another three hours."

The shutdown severed a key link between California's agricultural Central Valley and Los Angeles.

The highway through Tejon Pass rises to 4,100 feet in the Tehachapi Mountains and frequently is shut down in winter by blowing snow and treacherous black ice on the roadway.

California remained in the grip of a cold snap that's expected to last through the weekend.

Morning temperatures fell into the 20s and 30s in many areas, and much lower in the mountains. A low of 12 degrees was recorded in the Big Bear mountain resort east of Los Angeles.

Strawberry growers covered their crops, while San Diego zookeepers turned on heaters for the chimpanzees.

In Sonoma County, homeless shelters started handing out extra warm clothes to protect the least fortunate from below-freezing overnight temperatures.

Central Valley citrus growers braced for three days of sub-freezing temperatures. In Modesto, temperatures dipped into the 20s early today, several degrees colder than usual for this time of year.

Napa, in the wine country, and Sacramento, farther north, both recorded 27.

High temperatures in the Central Valley over the weekend were forecast for 50 degrees, 3 degrees lower than normal for mid-January, according to the National Weather Service.

In the south, forecasters warned that a low pressure trough sinking over San Diego County and parts of neighboring Orange County could keep nightly temperatures below the freezing point in coastal areas, the low deserts and inland valleys, threatening orange and avocado orchards and other sensitive plants. The coldest nights were expected to hit today and Saturday.

Farmers were prepared to pull out giant fans to circulate the air and keep it from settling on their citrus trees, said Eric Larson of the San Diego County Farm Bureau.

"These guys are going to be up all night watching thermometers," Larson said.

Workers at SeaWorld in San Diego planned to crank up the heat for their macaws, toucans and parrots. San Diego zookeepers were also heating rooms for chimpanzees, apes and other tropical animals.

"They'll probably be huddling together and not be in areas where people will be able to see them," said zoo spokeswoman Christina Simmons.

Associated Press writer Jason Dearen in San Francisco and Robert Jablon in Los Angeles contributed to this report.

 Print   Email   Comment | View 6 Comments   Most Popular   Save   Post   Retweet

You must be subscribed to participate in discussions
By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the TERMS OF SERVICE. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. Because only subscribers are allowed to comment, we have your personal information and are able to contact you. If your comments are inappropriate, you may receive a warning, and if you persist with such comments you may be banned from posting. To report comments that you believe do not follow our guidelines, email commentfeedback@staradvertiser.com.
Leave a comment

Please login to leave a comment.
Mike174 wrote:
on January 11,2013 | 06:42AM
jess wrote:
At least there's snow! Last year this time they were just getting their first flurries. Good for snowboarders... bad for drivers & orange farmers.
on January 11,2013 | 07:24AM
iwanaknow wrote:
So..............expect food prices to shoot up due to damaged crops? Bring in more foods from Mexico and Chile?
on January 11,2013 | 09:19AM
inverse wrote:
What about the story run by the SA a few days ago stating Hawaii has the fourth WORST traffic congestion in the North America How about the analysis in take into account in Hawaii it NEVER snows (except on the road at the very top of Mauna Kea), has ice on the roads, sandstorms creating a visibility hazard (ie Arizona), etc.. Therefore taken in totality, Hawaii is NOT the fourth worst traffic congestion in North America.
on January 11,2013 | 09:23AM
nomakeshame wrote:
There usually tends to be less drivers on the road when it is icy (no use taking a chance and not being able to stop at an intersection). During snowstorms, fog, etc. people do drive slower, plus I haven't really noticed any difference in the traffic congestion where I live during storms, people just drive slower and you usually know what time of day there will be congestion, unlike Hawaii or Honolulu to be more exact, there could be traffic congestion from the Likelike Hwy onramp all the way to the Punahou offramp for absolutely no reason any time of day.
on January 11,2013 | 12:00PM
Anonymous wrote:
Yeah, we'd better be prepared to shell out TRILLIONS to counter the effects of global warming. Good old Al Gore, just recently welcomed into the Billionaires Club with his latest sale of his Current TV network to, of all networks, Al-Jazeera, sure won't be making very visible appearances to push his Global Warming Cash Cow. How sad. That's one more thing the likes of Maddow, Matthews, Schultz, and O'Donnell won't be spouting on their very lightly watched "news" programs for the next week. I wonder why?
on January 11,2013 | 01:02PM
Breaking News
Political Radar
`Toss up’

Political Radar

Political Radar
Hilton; Plaza Club

Political Radar
Direct mail

Political Radar
Direct mail

Aperture Cafe
Ramadan #latergram