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Southern California Skies Clear But Highway Problems Persist

Cars wait in traffic on I-8 East while snow plows clear the road following a ...

Photo by Shalina Chatlani

Above: Cars wait in traffic on I-8 East while snow plows clear the road following a winter storm, Dec. 26, 2019.

Southern California skies turned clear and cold Friday in the aftermath of a powerful winter storm but sections of a major highway remained closed due to snow, ice and traffic accidents.

A closure of Interstate 5 that began Christmas night continued in the mountains north of Los Angeles on the notorious Grapevine section of the key highway through towering Tejon Pass.

In the inland region to the east, the Cajon Pass section of Interstate 15 reopened after being closed for many hours. The major route for travel between greater Los Angeles and Las Vegas also reopened in the Mojave Desert after a lengthy shutdown between Baker, California, and Primm, Nevada.

Adding to the traffic misery, accidents caused massive morning backups on icy State Route 14, a major commuter route between Los Angeles and high desert cities in the snow-blanketed Antelope Valley. Other high desert routes had similar problems.

RELATED: Winter Storm Warning In Effect As Heavy Rain Drenches San Diego

I-5 rises to more than 4,100 feet (1,250 meters) in Tejon Pass between Los Angeles and the San Joaquin Valley, making it susceptible to storm closures, especially on the steep section known as the Grapevine.

Cajon Pass rises to more than 3,700 feet (1,128 meters) between the San Gabriel and San Bernardino mountains on I-15, which also carries commuter traffic in addition to people traveling between southern Nevada and Southern California's cities.

The National Weather Service said the cold low pressure system that brought heavy rain and snow to Southern California was over Arizona on Friday and continuing to move east.

Moisture wrapping around the low continued to bring some snow showers in the mountains but that was expected to end.

Dry and warmer weather was expected through most of the weekend. Another cold, low-pressure system was forecast to bring precipitation late Sunday through Monday before a drying trend sets in on New Year's Eve.


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