Ice, snow create treacherous conditions along Cajon Pass, Grapevine

The California Highway Patrol continued to escort drivers through the Cajon Pass and Grapevine Friday after a storm dropped several inches of snow in the heavily traveled mountain areas, prompting hours-long road closures on Thanksgiving Day.

A winter storm warning denoting difficult travel conditions remained in place until 4 p.m. in the San Gabriel Mountains in Los Angeles County and the Antelope Valley.

The southbound 15 Freeway at the Cajon Pass was reopened Thursday after a temporary closure due to traffic accidents amid snow in the area, Caltrans said. Caltrans shut down the lanes near Oak Hill Road shortly before 8:30 p.m. Thursday. Lanes were later opened around 11:45 p.m.

Traffic slowed to a crawl on the Cajon Pass due to the second round of rain and snow pummeling Southern California.

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This week's unusually early and heavy snowfall left many drivers in the Antelope Valley and Inland Empire stuck on roads and even forced some to sleep in their cars.

At one point, some drivers seemed to take to their horns to voice their frustrations while sitting in traffic, while others were heard shouting during the slowed drive.

"Everyone was beeping, none of the cars were moving," said one person stuck in the congestion. "It was frustrating. People were getting out of their cars and yelling. It was crazy."

The congestion lessened Friday morning, with a steady stream of drivers traveling in both directions.

The Grapevine was also hit by the storm, prompting two closures on Thanksgiving Day. The major thoroughfare was shut down first for much of Thanksgiving morning and later in the evening around 8 p.m. The 5 Freeway reopened at 11 p.m. Thursday with the CHP running escorts.

CHP escorting drivers through Grapevine during snowstorm
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The Grapevine remained open Friday after ice and snow prompted two closures on Thanksgiving Day.

Officials are urging drivers to use caution and utilize alternate routes as snow and potentially icy roads are expected through Friday.

For drivers needing to take the Grapevine, the CHP is recommending drivers use Highway 14 to the 58 to avoid any mountain passes that may shut down. However, snowy conditions prompted the closure of the 58 shortly Thursday morning.

Another route to get around any potential Grapevine closures is the scenic route via the 101 Freeway.

City News Service contributed to this story.
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