Uncommon snowfall for the region has swathed California in white this Thanksgiving. Interstate 5 by Grapevine was entirely closed by 9:30 PM Thursday, for what was then an unknown length of time. By 11:30 PM, Caltrans was able to clear all lanes for I5, citing Caltrans District 7 Twitter. Mountain High Resort in Wrightwood, Ca reported 2 to 3 feet of new snow at their high elevation point.
Caltrans and the Associated Press also cite stretches of I80 being closed as early as Tuesday, as well as congested by stranded traffic. Whole stretches of highway, jackknifing into Oregon and other states north of California were also temporarily closed. People have spent the whole night in their car on these highways in some areas as of Wednesday. Citing Q13 Fox Local, the greater Portland, Ore. area was able to open their stretch of I-5 by as late Wednesday.
While Caltrans and CDOT tried to warn the public, many were still caught off guard by the storm’s severity. Stranded commuters had ice accumulate on their windshields even if the vehicle remained running. Many in this region may still doubt the severity of this storm. To these people, please do be advised. These conditions are severe and may continue to escalate.
This storm has even sprinkled desert regions with snow, citing Los Angeles Times. This storm system has created snow and rain conditions for the desert regions as early as a week ago, citing The Desert Sun. Last week’s storm even shut down part of Highway 243. This follows a trend of repeat snowstorms in California this year. A winter storm graced the area in September, leaving some areas on the West coast bathed in 3-feet of accumulation, citing USA Today.
This most recent steep snow has begun to dwindle the raving Cave Fire, citing Santa Barbara Edhat. This snowstorm may be the baptism California needed to reverse the dreadful wildfire seasons of late. Yet, a snowstorm of this magnitude brings problems of its own for Californians, who are virtually inexperienced with the conditions of this storm. The snowstorm of today is the result of the recent bomb cyclone event. Bomb cyclones are more common on the East Coast.
California’s airports are also slammed by the dicey conditions, citing US News. The Federal Aviation Administration has instituted a ground delay for San Francisco International Airport. Arrivals have been sliced in half. CBS Sacramento quoting the National Weather Service also states that Sierra region travel is discouraged for this weekend. Another heavy snowstorm is expected to move in on the heels of this one. If you do wish to go to Sierra this weekend, Friday-Saturday was the best option time frame quoted by CBS. Saturday afternoon through Sunday is expected to have violent weather conditions as the storm descends.
The heaviest snowfall is expected for ground-level above 5,000 feet. If you go into the mountains during the storm system, and the mountains are the area most heavily impacted by the storm, you may become stranded.