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Storm ices Big Bear roads, clogs drains in IE

January 19, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
The powerful storm brought heavy snow and near whiteout conditions to the mountain, making travel difficult.

The conditions in Big Bear changed rapidly Tuesday. The morning was clear, but it started snowing around noon quite heavily at times. Soon, the snow changed to freezing rain, then quickly changed again to hail. The winds are picking up and the temperatures are dropping.

Chain checks were set up on Highway 18 at Snow Valley. Cal Trans was successful in keeping the roads clear, but that was before the snow started falling.

The snow is affecting the local resorts.

"It's such a wet snow, that it kind of ringing the water out of it, and as it froze you can see it's very solid stuff now," said Chris Riddle of Snow Summit.

Skiers and snowboarders already in Big Bear found that conditions were improving. "The conditions yesterday were rough in the morning and in the afternoon, the top was great, because the snow came down and it was really great powder, but on the bottom, it was kind of slushy like mashed potatoes," said Jennifer Hagstrom of Carlsbad.

The locals were taking the storm pretty much in stride.

"People were quick to let somebody know what you need to do, and it's all about if they heed your warnings or not," said Bill Lindsey, a Big Bear resident. "It can get pretty hectic when you got people who want to get to the ski area, and they don't have time to chain up."

"Chains, sleds, gloves, beanies, I've got the works, pal," Jay McCrea, a salesman in Big Bear, listed the items he was delivering Tuesday to local retailers.

"We're probably working pretty good day today, a 16-hour day today," said McCrea. "Then I have to go help them out in Running Springs."

At the summit at Cajon Pass, the snow was falling on Tuesday afternoon. Crews are placing cinders on the northbound lands near that area. Also, a traffic fatality was reported on Highway 189 near Blue Jay