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Little room at Palmdale inn after storm waylays motorists

The general manager of Hilton Garden Inn in Palmdale had planned on a 10% to 15% occupancy rate but ended up renting 70% of the 107 rooms after a strong snowstorm left motorists stranded up and down the state.

"Everybody thought it would be a little sprinkle, but it went through the whole night," said General Manager Miriam Arreola, 38, referring to the Sunday night storm.

Guests checking in said they were unaccustomed to driving in snow and had been frightened while driving on Highway 14, where the slushy road caused wheels to spin. The main roadways were plowed early Monday, but other streets were difficult to navigate.

"If you don't know your street, you can't tell where you're going," Arreola said. "You can get lost in the whiteness of the snow."

Kirk and Linda Urata were stranded in the Antelope Valley with their 12-year-old daughter after dropping off an older daughter at UC San Diego and heading back home to Bakersfield.

Stopping for coffee and a bathroom break at a Denny's in Mojave, they decided to continue on, despite it being 1:30 a.m. But bumper-to-bumper traffic and snowy roads forced them to get off Highway 14 and backtrack to a Palmdale hotel.

Kirk Urata, a high-school teacher, e-mailed his lesson plan at 4 a.m. for the substitute teacher. He and his wife were frustrated by the lack of information from the California Department of Transportation, whose toll free number continuously advised them there were no travel restrictions.

"When you're going 10 mph and it's snowing, we consider that a restriction," Linda Urata said.

Signs posted along the highway instructed travelers to tune in to AM radio station 530 for road conditions, but the channel did not seem to be working. Still, the Uratas were in good spirits as they headed for the highway Monday morning.

"It's been friendly," Linda Urata said of their encounters with other travelers. "Everybody's been chatting and telling their stories. We just keep saying it's an adventure."

And their 12-year-old daughter, Claire, was happy to miss her first day back to school after winter vacation.

ALSO:

Clear skies ahead for Southern California

Actress Zsa Zsa Gabor hospitalized in Westwood

Escorts begin on Interstate 5; snow level could drop to 1,000 feet

-- Corina Knoll in Palmdale

 
Comments () | Archives (5)

"Signs posted along the highway instructed travelers to tune in to AM radio station 530 for road conditions, but the channel did not seem to be working. "

Those stations usually only activate when there's a CalTrans highway advisory.

"He and his wife were frustrated by the lack of information from the California Department of Transportation, whose toll free number continuously advised them there were no travel restrictions. "

Restrictions are not road conditions. Cal Trans only reports when a decision has been made to close the roads, require snow tires/chains etc.

I'm a little ashamed of the reporting here.

You'd think a high-school teacher would have the sense to turn on the car radio for weather and road information. Well, maybe not...

no there is practically never any forwarning about the I5 through Castaic through to the grapevine - its rediculous. the only warning is when you are just about at the base and the cal trans silent radio bilboard signs (the ones that blind you while driving at night b/c they are stupidly too bright). but then its too late. also, the northbound lanes - all of them - have been ripped up for about a MONTH now! and there is totally no info on when they will pave it right - none. and like the article says - no info about this even being a road construction condition. by ripped up i mean the surface has been sheered off by caltrans leaving a gravely textured surface that grinds down your tires and is rough riding and causes much debris (rocks etc) to be thrown at your car. dont drive with your windows down - you may get a bad eye injury - we can only imagine its even worse now with the snow on the unsealed northbound i5 grapevine lanes. it starts at fort tejon. can somebody follow up on that? thanks.

Kirk Urata, a high-school teacher, e-mailed his lesson plan at 4 a.m. for the substitute teacher. He and his wife were frustrated by the lack of information from the California Department of Transportation, whose toll free number continuously advised them there were no travel restrictions.

Must be nice to be a brain dead union loser. My boss would expect me to plan ahead for bad weather. After all its not like the storm was a surprise. The weathermen were predicting it for a week.

No one can predict the weather to the satisfaction of people who want some else to make their decisions for them.


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