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Snow, wind in SB Mountain cause rock slides

January 18, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
Falling snow in many areas of California's mountains triggered rock slides and even power outages. It's been raining and snowing off and on all afternoon. Most of the snow is sticking to the upper elevations, but we are starting to get some snow in Angeles Oaks. But the big story in the San Bernardino Mountains has been heavy rain and the high rains causing power outages and causing rock slides along the highways.

Conditions on Highway 18 weren't too bad Monday. Still, there were problems. It was very foggy and a number of boulders tumbled down the mountain out into the middle of the highway. Cal Trans patrolled the roads all day long trying to keep them clear of debris.

"Boulders as big as television sets and even bigger in places that you have to drive around," described Eddie Escalera of CHP.

Late Monday afternoon, chain conditions were required between Snow Valley and Big Bear Lake, not because there's a lot of snow on the road but because people were going too fast.

"Even with my patrol units here with my lights going on, cars are going way too fast, because I could turn on my radar unit and pick them up at 30-40 mph when the speed limit should have been 15," said Escalera.

Up in Big Bear Lake, the wind was the real issue. Power was knocked out from several thousand residents in the San Bernardino Mountains. An iHop restaurant had to stop serving food because the kitchen shutdown and the lights were off because of the power outage. At the Alpine Slide, many wanted snow and didn't get it but still had a good time.

"I'm going tubing and it's very fun," said Oliver Richardson of L.A.

"I thought we were going to come last night with that fresh five feet of snow according to everything, but no, the roads are nice and clear but, it's coming," said Dave Lewis of L.A.

"A lot colder than L.A. though I hear it's not much different there. It's raining cats and dogs," said Joclynn Benjamin of L.A.

As far as the roads go, snow is not really sticking because it's mostly just water, because it's still not cold enough for it to stick. But there is a chain requirement up near Onyx Summit and on the Arctic Circle between the dam as well as Snow Valley. So the roads aren't too much of a problem up in the San Bernardino Mountains, but Cal Trans says bring your chains because there's about to be a lot of snow Monday night.