Roadways open, drivers proceed cautiously

PALMDALE, Calif. Interstate 5 southbound was still closed on Thursday morning because of the slick roads, but CHP began escorting cars through the 5 North.

It was a frustrating Wednesday night for many people who were stuck in Castaic because of the Grapevine closure. Motorists were forced to spend the night after sitting for hours in backed-up traffic, settling in parking lots or anywhere they could park their cars.

Caltrans crews were on the move early Thursday morning, spreading cinders on the 5 Freeway near Gorman.

One tired man, who said he spent the night in his car, said he just wants to get home.

"I'm from Bakersfield, California, an hour away, but it seems like I'm never going to get there," said driver Pablo Gama.

Another woman said she had been stuck in Castaic since 3 p.m. Wednesday, her vehicle loaded with supplies for her business that she can't get to because of the closure.

Cars in Palmdale have been lined up since Wednesday, waiting to get on the 14 Freeway.

While drivers' patience was wearing thin, CHP said they'd rather deal with angry drivers than injured drivers.

The 14 was shut down around 11 a.m. on Wednesday, so for Palmdale residents working in L.A., Metrolink trains were a life-saver.

"Normally I get home around 7, and I got home around 9:15, once I got my car dug out, and made it home, standing room only on the train," said commuter Kathy Miller.

Longtime residents said it's been decades since this much snow has fallen in the area.

Authorities reopened northbound and southbound traffic on the 15 in the Cajon Pass, but drivers will not be able to make it all the way to Las Vegas on the 15 North. On Thursday afternoon, drivers could only go as far as Baker.

For nearly 24 hours, cars and big rigs were parked on the 15 for as far as the eye can see.

"I got family sitting up there. They've been waiting, they said the backyard's a wonderland, but uncle can't make it right now," said Apple Valley resident Jamal de la Cruz.

The 15 is reportedly snow-packed from Devore all the way up to southern Utah, and for those who use the Cajon Pass regularly, they said they've never seen it this bad before.

"I'll be honest, I've been here about 21 years, and this is the first storm I've ever seen this bad, and I just can't believe what happened," said Victorville resident John Howard. "Like I said, Mother Nature and Jesus is changing the atmosphere."

Caltrans crews with a plow worked on clearing three inches of snow on the 15 on Thursday morning, a welcome sight for many.

Road closures
Estimated time for reopening these routes is unknown and dependent on improved weather conditions

  • Golden State Freeway (Interstate 5) through the Grapevine has reopened with CHP escort
  • 14 Freeway: Southbound connector to Southbound I-5 closed from 11 p.m. to 4 a.m. through 12/19
  • State Route 18 is closed from Big Bear Dam east approximately 1 mile due to disabled big rig. Chains are required on all vehicles from 189 junction to San Bernardino National Forest.

Check the Calif. Dept. of Transportation for further details.

Check here for a list of School Closures

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