SoCal mountain communities still face challenges in recovering as another storm on the way

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Wednesday, March 8, 2023
Lake Arrowhead slowly recovering with new storm on the way
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The snow is slowly starting to clear from mountain communities like Lake Arrowhead, but many problems remain as a new storm is on the way.

LAKE ARROWHEAD, Calif. (KABC) -- The snow is slowly starting to clear from mountain communities like Lake Arrowhead, but many problems remain at a time when there is another possible storm on the way.

Some neighborhoods remain unplowed, with residents running low on supplies and struggling with power outages.

But even in areas that have clear roads, skiers and other visitors are being advised to stay away from now.

In places like Lake Arrowhead Village, for example, many businesses remain closed. And even with the roads mostly clear, customers have few options for parking, with many spots covered in tall piles of plowed snow.

"It was really hard," said Oscar Pacheco, who has lived in the area for 26 years. "I mean I've never seen it like this before."

Workers are trying to clear out the sidewalks around Arrowhead Ranch and remove several feet of snow from the roof of the dining hall. But it may already be too late as the roof is already sagging and close to giving way under the weight of the snow.

As for the lake itself, after a wet winter it was already full before the storm. But the latest snowfall sunk portions of dock and caused other damage.

The roads that are cleared are surrounded by walls of snow and many residents are unable to park in their own driveways.

"We were in a pretty tough spot the last couple of days, just for the unprecedented amount of snow that we've gotten up here," said Eric Dionne with Caltrans. "This is a storm that we haven't seen since the 1970s."

Dionne says most of the highways are open to residents only, with one major exception: Highway 18 between Snow Valley and Big Bear known as the Arctic Circle. Crews are still trying to clear the road but there's a long way to go. And there remains the distinct possibility of avalanches.

As crews continue to work, they will now have to prepare for another incoming storm. But this one is expected to be warmer, which could cause more flooding than snow.