Winter storm's rain and snow in Southwest cause nightmare travel conditions

Winter storm brings snow, rain to Southwest
Winter storm brings snow, rain to Southwest 02:40

A massive winter storm is blowing east across the Southwest after dumping torrential rain and snow on Southern California. It's causing nightmare journeys in the middle of a busy travel time.

Less than 30 miles northwest of Las Vegas, snow is blanketing Mount Charleston, creating hazardous conditions for visitors from Sin City, CBS News correspondent Jamie Yuccas reports. 

Travelers heading from Nevada to California sat in traffic for hours after snowy conditions forced the closure of the busy Interstate 15. Alternate routes were overwhelmed as well.

"Normally, it'll take us maybe 30 minutes. It took us about an hour today, just going slow, following people," said Rachel Messinger, a Las Vegas resident.

Another driver said he had to turn around twice. "I came over the pass to go to work and because of the weather, we didn't work, so trying to get back home," Pahrump, Nevada, resident Robin Quadlin said.

Heavy snow also fell in Flagstaff, Arizona, as the massive storm system headed east.

The storm wreaked havoc in Southern California Thursday with snow in the mountains closing two of the state's major interstates, diverting traffic and leaving travelers frustrated.

"It's not like there's any signage. Just suddenly everybody's getting off here, and there's no instruction about what to do," one driver said. 

Some drivers, stuck in the snow, posted videos of the mess on social media. "We've been stuck out here actually for about almost five hours," one person said.

In San Diego, heavy rains shut down roads, submerging cars. And it wasn't just ground travel that was affected. Long lines were seen at airports across the West, including at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

Heavy rain and snow are expected to slam into the mountains and Plains by this weekend, with a foot to two feet of snow expected Friday in the Southern Rockies.