Palomar Mountain Snowed In

Snow started falling on Palomar Friday.

By R. Stickney and Steve Luke
|  Monday, Feb 9, 2009  |  Updated 7:55 PM PDT
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Steve Luke

Snow piles up at the post office atop Palomar Mountain. Even so, the General Store is open for business.

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Chains Required on Palomar

Some folks came prepared, others tried to use rope on their tires. Steve Luke reports on the snow up on Palomar Mountain.
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When the snow falls in the North County, residents head to their winter playground - Palomar Mountain.

Snow started falling on Palomar Friday. By Monday, nearly a foot of snow had accumulated at the higher elevations. The snow closed the Observatory Saturday according to the observatory's blog.

Drivers heading up the East Grade spotted snow at 4,000 feet Monday afternoon. At lower elevations, hail bounced off the road.

Signs are posted requiring chains but there didn't appear to be much enforcement by the CHP. Cal Trans and public works snow plows worked to clear the roads. Even with the plowing, drivers still got stuck and spun out along State Route 6.

At the top of the mountain, chains are necessary. Drivers without them will be unable to drive on roads beyond the Palomar Mountain General Store.

One carload from Vista decided to make the trip to see the snow without chains. They were spotted alongside the road tying a rope around their tires. They seemed to be successful but no doubt this solution wouldn't make CHP officers happy.

This snow will probably last at least a couple of weeks according to Francisco Valdovimos, the General Manager of the Palomar Mt. General Store. "You know people pray for rain. I pray for snow, “ he said. “So I’m quite gratified as a business person.”

For most San Diegans, when snow falls they think of the East County areas for sledding. Mike Calhoun from Escondido wants to keep it that way. “It seems like they always talk about Laguna Mountain and Julian,” he said. “My wife and I were just talking about it. I’m glad they don’t mention Palomar because not as many people come up there.”

If you're considering heading to Palomar for a snow day, you'll want to steer clear of private land and head for Palomar Mountain State Park.

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