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Rain, snow, hail cause problems across SoCal

December 22, 2009 12:16:59 AM PST
Fresh snow and bright sunshine, a great day to hit the ski slopes. The only problem: extremely gusty winds. They got a little bit of everything in our local mountains in the past 24 hours: Some rain, some high winds, and some new snow. Strong winds have caused problems across the Southland. The wind had calmed in the San Bernardino Mountains in the late afternoon Tuesday. In some areas it's been a dead calm; in other areas, the wind has been howling.

At the 6,000-foot level, a few inches of snow fell overnight. At the base of the mountains, it was mostly just rain.

In Rancho Cucamonga early Tuesday morning, light rain turned to heavy rain, and then hail began to fall. The hail lasted only a minute, followed by more rain.

Many other areas in the Southland got soaked with rain overnight, but it was a brief downpour, just enough to soak the roads and make them slick.

In Rubidoux, a big-rig tractor-trailer exiting the 60 Freeway jackknifed on the slick road.

"The truck was carrying empty produce crates, so he had no weight on the back of the trailer, which contributed to the vehicle sliding out of control," said CHP Officer Maurice Walker.

In Cerritos, a driver lost control on the 605 Freeway near the 91 Freeway and hit a guardrail. The driver was not injured and admitted he was going a little too fast for the conditions.

In Artesia, the driver of a pickup truck veered off the road and into the bushes, exiting the 91 Freeway eastbound at Pioneer Boulevard. The driver was not injured.

The rain finally tapered off, but a thick layer of fog lingered over Fontana, as blue sky tried to peek through.

In Oak Hills, a thin layer of snow fell early Tuesday morning.

"Hopefully we got another storm coming. I'd like to see a white Christmas," said Jorge Jorgensen of Oak Hills.

Along with the cold temperatures, drivers are dealing with gusty winds. Driver Erik Richardson had to pull over to secure the big screen he's taking to Las Vegas.

"There was just a lot of wind coming through the El Cajon Pass, so I just wanted to make sure this was still connected the way it should have been," said Richardson.

At Snow Valley Ski Area Tuesday, windy conditions forced the closure of chair lifts near Keller Peak.

"Right now, we're showing winds at 50-plus miles per hour at the top of the mountain, so we do have a wind-hold," said Kevin Somes, Snow Valley Ski Area marketing manager. "We expect that to be removed later this evening and tomorrow resume regular operations."

Even though wind-chill was way below freezing, it wasn't a problem for most visitors.

"It doesn't matter, we're dressed warm," said Jennifer Connolly, a visiting Santa Ynez resident. "We've got a lot of clothes on, so the wind doesn't bother me. It's fun. It only happens a few months a year, so you've got to come out and enjoy the weather."

Bear Mountain Ski Resort received between three and four inches of snow overnight. Snow Valley received four and a half inches of snow. Mountain High Ski Resort and Wrightwood got about three inches of snow.

Chains are required on mountain roads.


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