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Snow strands vehicles, causing accidents on I-5 north of L.A.

January 2, 2011 |  7:07 pm

The California Highway Patrol reported numerous stranded vehicles and minor accidents along Interstate 5 north of Los Angeles late Sunday as falling snow and sleet shut down the Grapevine section of the freeway indefinitely.

Near Magic Mountain, there were reports of multiple cars stuck on the roadway, said CHP Officer Krystal Carter.

State highways 14 and 58 remained open as alternative routes between the San Joaquin Valley and Los Angeles. But officials said those roads were clogging up with traffic and should be avoided.

“The best bet, if you can, is to hunker down for the night” and avoid traveling through mountain areas, Carter said. “It’s pretty bad ... and it’s going to get worse as the night progresses” and temperatures drop.

The I-5 closure stretched from near Castaic Lake, at the north end of the Santa Clarita Valley, over the mountains to the bottom of the Grapevine, south of Bakersfield. Carter said the road may not reopen until Monday. 

A chief concern for the CHP was getting stranded motorists to safety, Carter said.

More snow-related problems were reported in the Cajon Pass area of San Bernardino County. CHP units were escorting vehicles along I-15 from the I-215 interchange to the Hesperia area. The snow was aggravating traffic delays for holiday travelers returning from Las Vegas.

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-- Rich Connell

Photo: The red taillights of stopped cars glow on northbound Interstate 5 near Castaic after heavy snow closed the major roadway several miles north of this point. Credit: Mike Meadows / Associated Press

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