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Cold Snap Hits LA, Brings Snow To Grapevine

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – Snow fell in the Grapevine Wednesday morning as the coldest storm of the winter season hit the region, dropping temperatures into the 30s and 40s.

Cold Snap Hits LA, Brings Snow To The Grapevine
Snow falls in the Grapevine. Feb. 23, 2022. (CBSLA)

Snow flurries began falling on the 5 Freeway through the Grapevine overnight as Caltrans crews spread sand on icy sections of the roadway and California Highway Patrol escorted drivers through the area. However, by 7 a.m., the snow and ice forced the closure of both sides of the freeway at the Tejon Pass.

"It's getting too bad, I don't want to risk it," said Brandon Chewning, a refrigerator repairman, who was headed to Buttonwillow, but decided to turn back because of the snow.

Just before noon, however, CHP again began escorting large groups of vehicles through the Grapevine, and officials told CBSLA it could soon fully reopen in both directions.

"They got about six plow trucks out, treated north and southbound from about Fort Tejon to about halfway down the hill," CHP Officer Joe Phipps told CBSLA. "That allowed us to keep traffic moving slow, it kept the pavement pretty warm, but they monitor the temperature of the pavement to make sure it's not getting to where we get icy conditions. But working with Caltrans, the public driving slow, we were able to keep it open."

Officials also warned drivers not to take back roads during the closure.

"Please don't listen to the apps that tell you to take back roads, because we have a lot of cars right now that are stuck in the mountains trying to get around the closures, and that is a problem every time we shut down the freeway," CHP Sgt. Joe Phipps told CBSLA.

Wrightwood in the San Gabriel Mountains was also seeing snow flurries Wednesday, with Caltrans crews working to keep the Angeles Crest Highway clear.

"That big low-pressure system that's bringing us this very cold winter weather is still sitting overhead, is still pushing in some energy, and so we're still going to continue to see a little bit more of this action, and the scattered showers this morning," CBS2 Meteorologist Amber Lee said.

A winter weather advisory expired at noon Wednesday in the Los Angeles County Mountains and the Antelope Valley. Forecasters said the mountains could see snow accumulating up to 3 inches, with 5 inches possible in some localized areas and the snow level falling as low as 2,000 feet. The snowy conditions were accompanied by winds gusting up to 45 miles per hour.

"This will be the coldest storm that we have seen so far this winter season, with the potential for widespread snow/ice impacts across many of our lower elevation passes which could make for difficult travel with potential delays or road closures," according to the National Weather Service.

A wind advisory was in effect until 6 p.m. in the San Fernando and Santa Clarita valleys and the coastal region stretching into downtown Los Angeles.

In Orange County, a wind advisory was also in place until 6 p.m. for Orange County coastal and inland areas, while a winter weather advisory will be in effect until noon Wednesday in the Santa Ana Mountains and foothills.

Forecasters said drier weather was expected on Thursday, along with a slight warming trend that will last into the weekend.

(© Copyright 2022 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)

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