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Southland storm brings cold rain, snow

March 31, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
Temperatures dropped Wednesday afternoon as a storm approached the Southland. The storm is expected to bring rain and snow. Brisk, cold wind has been the constant factor Wednesday as the weather pattern has been in a constant state of flux. Snow flurries were falling on and off all afternoon and heavy fog was moving in along the Rim of the World Highway.

Gusty winds ripped across Big Bear Lake Wednesday afternoon, the choppy waters pounding the shoreline. With temperatures in the mid-30s, wind-chill was probably below freezing for most of the day. That was certainly the case up at Snow Summit.

"It's pretty cold at the top," said San Jacinto resident Charlene Frazier. "Unfortunately I've left my helmet bag at home today, so it's cold."

It was just around 12:30 p.m. that the front edge of the storm caught up with the cold weather in the mountains, and the first snowflakes started to fall, adding a fresh layer to what's already one of the best snowpacks in years in the area.

"That storm of January was a storm of epic proportions and it really set us up really for the rest of the year, and to have a snowpack of this quality and this depth at the end of March is pretty unheard of," said Chris Riddle, director of marketing, Big Bear Mountain Resorts.

At Get The Burger restaurant, they're also hoping for more snow. More snow means more people, which means selling more burgers.

"The snow is our lifeblood," said restaurant owner Eric Schwartz. "Without that, nobody wants to come up here and just look at cold dirt."

Of course for some, they've had enough of the snow. At Charles Hoffman Elementary School, the principal is hoping to avoid yet another snow day.

"I'm done with it, done with indoor recess," said Cherie Singer, Hoffman Elementary principal.

And Caltrans is certainly not hoping for a big storm. Highway 330 is still closed for emergency repairs because of all the weather this year. The road is expected to be closed at least another month, and perhaps longer, depending on how much rain and snow this storm brings.

Since State Route 330 is closed, in order to get into the mountains, you'll need to take either State Route 38 or State Route 18, the Rim of the World Highway. There were no chain requirements Wednesday afternoon. Travelers to the area were advised to bring chains just in case, as conditions change often in the mountains.