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Drivers see smooth traveling on Grapevine

February 20, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
The Grapevine was open Sunday after heavy rains and snow made conditions slick and icy through the mountain pass.

Overnight snow blanketed the area in white making for beautiful scenery but a dangerous commute for motorists driving in Gorman as black ice made driving conditions dangerous.

The snow level in the local mountains fell down to 2,000 feet. Early Sunday morning saw some small snow flurries and light rain showers especially in the north-facing mountains, but things were expected to clear throughout the day.

Chains are required to travel on Highway 18. Highway 330 was closed indefinitely. The only routes open into Big Bear are highways 18 and 38.

Lower elevation areas saw high winds, hail and rain, creating treacherous driving conditions.

"I think it was really kind of scary right when you were coming right down the grade right past Gorman. That area was really, really dangerous," said Patricia Madrid of Stockton.

Overnight, Mountain High got 10 inches of snow, hiking up the weekend total to 16 to 24 inches.

Mt. Baldy saw about 6 inches of snow, the Antelope Valley got about 4 inches, Mount Wilson saw 7 inches and Frazier Park got about 1 inch of powder.

The storm came just in time for snowboarders and skiers to enjoy the holiday weekend at the local resorts. Bear Mountain has about a foot of new snow from the storm, the most natural snowfall of the year so far.

California Highway Patrol officers were escorting drivers through the Grapevine along Interstate 5 on Saturday night but stopped at about 10 p.m. as conditions let up.

As for rain totals, downtown Los Angeles saw about 1.31 inches, Pasadena saw slightly below 1 inch and Long Beach saw about half an inch.

The wet weather was expected to dissipate by Monday, making for a clear Presidents Day with temperatures in the 60s. The rest of the work week was expected to be similarly clear but chilly with another possibility of rain toward the weekend.

Heavy rain Friday and Saturday triggered flash flood advisories in areas like Sierra Madre, La Canada Flintridge, La Crescenta, Long Beach and downtown L.A. Those advisories have since been lifted.

The National Weather Service issued a tornado warning until 6:45 p.m. PT Saturday for east central Santa Barbara County and west central Ventura County after its doppler radar indicated a tornado near La Conchita, moving east at 25 mph.

The tornado warning was allowed to expire after the thunderstorm weakened.

In Pasadena, the CHP was forced to shut down the 110 Freeway just south of Glenarm Street due to flooding. The closure lasted several hours as crews cleared the roadway.

There was also minor flooding on Interstate 10 and State Route 90 on west side of Los Angeles.