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Grapevine open; Southlanders hit the slopes

April 14, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
The Grapevine stretch of the Interstate 5 has reopened after California Highway Patrol closed it overnight due to weather.

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Fierce winds and snow flurries at levels as low as 3,500 feet triggered the closure at about 10 p.m. Friday, but the highway was reopened early Saturday morning.

The snow is good news for skiers and snowboarders who woke up to plenty of fresh powder. Up to a foot of snow fell in the local mountains overnight.

Mountain High Resort reopened this weekend thanks to the storm. Snow Summit is also open this weekend and could extend the season another week.

Those heading up to the mountains were warned of ice and snow on the roads. Chains were not required, but officials advised motorists to carry them and take it slow.

Snow also fell in the high desert, including the Mojave and Tehachapi areas overnight. The winter-like weather made for treacherous conditions there, as the snow was combined with blustery winds of up to 60 mph.

Saturday is expected to be mostly clear but cool with temps in the low 60s for L.A. and Orange Counties, I.E. and Valleys and low 30s for the local mountains with scattered snow showers in the higher elevations.

In addition to snow, Southern California was slammed with a severe spring storm bringing rain, lightning and thunder.

Lightning struck the garage of a home in Oxnard, sparking a fire. The entire garage erupted in flames that reached up to 20 feet. Fortunately, no one was injured in the incident.

In Jurupa, lightning struck a eucalyptus tree and a 4-inch gas line, which was near the base of the tree. The gas line exploded, blowing out windows at a building across the street. Southern California Gas Company crews worked through the night to fix the line.

Lightning was also a problem for air travelers. The FAA confirmed that several flights were hit by lighting on Friday afternoon, but none of the planes were damaged.

Heavy rain caused minor street flooding as well as power outages across the Southland. As of 6:45 a.m. Saturday, about 800 people were without power in Los Angeles County, about 650 people in Pomona and about 500 people in San Bernardino County. Crews worked quickly to restore power, but it was unclear when it would be fully restored.

In Irvine, four contractors found themselves stuck in a flooded creek, triggering a major rescue operation. The contractors were working near the Verizon Amphitheater when they tried to drive through the creek but got stuck.

Emergency crews used a helicopter to pluck the men from the pickup truck and get them to dry land.

In another dangerous situation, a Los Alamitos police officer's dash cam captured a dramatic rescue of a man trapped in a river. The 46-year-old homeless man was taken on a stretcher to an area hospital and is expected to survive.

Follow @abc7Weather on Twitter for up-to-the-minute weather updates.

See photos of the wild weather across Southern California on Friday, April 13, 2012.


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