Motorists urged to bring tire chains when headed to SoCal mountain areas during upcoming storms

LYTLE CREEK, Calif. (KABC) -- Another series of major storms is expected to begin Wednesday evening in Southern California, raising the specter of possible flash flooding in recent burn areas and treacherous conditions on mountain roads.

This week's weather systems have the potential to dump several feet of snow, resulting in what Caltrans spokeswoman Terri Kasinga described as "two, three, four hours just to get up to the Big Bear area."

The agency reminded drivers to bring tire chains when headed to the mountains - even if they might not seem immediately necessary.

Kassinga recalled that on Christmas Eve on Highway 38 in the San Bernardino National Forest, ill-equipped motorists caused major delays.

"Some people didn't have their chains on, they got stuck, and they caused another 100 cars, trucks - and the tow truck drivers, trying to get up to rescue them - to be stuck in the snow," she said. "They were up there in excess of four to six hours, and it was night."

Caltrans officials said the agency's crews and vehicles are prepared for the forecasted onslaught of snow and rain.

"We'll run 24 hours a day," spokesman Nick Novelich said. "We'll have four to five operators during the night and four to five during the day."

According to Rich Minnich, a professor at UC Riverside, this week's set of storms is similar to those that will make their way across the Southland well into March.

"The drought's over," Minnich declared in an interview. "Oh, for sure."
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