CHP begins vehicle escort through Cajon Pass


There was a bit of snow on the roads early Monday afternoon, which made for a pleasant drive heading up to the mountains.

"This is so much better. When I was driving here on the freeway actually it was raining like crazy and I hate rain, but when you see the snow, that's really cool," said Albert Lim of Irvine.

But that changed in the evening as snowfall made driving conditions treacherous on mountain roads. Chains were required on several of them.

The snow first began falling in Running Springs around 8 a.m., which is close to the 5,000 to 6,000 foot elevation level.

All routes to the San Bernardino mountains, Wrightwood and Idyllwild were under chain control Monday evening.

"If you do not have tire chains in your vehicle, including four-wheel drives, they must have chains with them as well. You could be turned around and sent back down the mountain to buy some chains," said California Highway Patrol Officer Ed Escalera.

Four to 14 inches of snow was expected in mountain levels above 5,000 feet. Snow levels were expected to drop early Tuesday to 2,500 feet.

The following roadways may see some visibility and snow issues Monday night into Tuesday:

  • Interstate 5 at Grapevine
  • State Route 14 at Soledad Canyon Road
  • State Route 138 in the Antelope Valley
  • State Route 33 in the Ventura County mountains
  • Interstate 15 through the Cajon Pass

The I-15 through the Cajon Pass was under CHP escort. Officials warned the 15 may be closed if accidents or weather conditions warrant it.

"We don't require chains on interstates such as I-15, but if you are going to mountain areas you definitely will need chains," said Terri Kasinga, spokeswoman for the Caltrans.

The timing of the snow storm has also been a treat for the CHP and mountain resorts. With snow arriving at the forefront of the week, mountain enthusiasts shouldn't have a storm to deal with on the drive up this weekend. That is different from last year, when all the big storms seemed to hit during the weekends, making for a mess on the mountain roads.

Up at Bear Mountain, there is snow visible on the slopes. Big Bear Mountain Resort officials say that if this storm is as good as billed, it's going to make for one heck of a holiday season. They're hoping to have nearly 100 percent of the mountain open in time for the holidays.

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