Another Blast of Winter Weather

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John Audley

Another powerful storm flowed into San Diego Sunday and its effects were still being felt on Monday.

The storm may be to blame for a deadly crash on I-805 about Interstate 8. A Toyota pickup truck spun out of control and slammed into a tow truck that was answering an earlier call. A man in his early 20s was killed in the crash. He has not yet been identified.

The rain totals around the county varied greatly, with Lindbergh Field receiving .26 inches, while up north in Oceanside, .64 inches fell.

NBCSanDiego's Whitney Southwick said two more systems could arrive on Monday: one in the late morning and the other in the late afternoon. However, he stressed that the afternoon system could stay to the north and miss San Diego County.

That rain turned into snow and ice in East County, and up in parts of North County. An inch or so of the white stuff blanketed Mount Laguna, and drivers in lower elevations were being urged to drive slowly and carefully and on the lookout for ice. Forecasters are predicting showers below 4,000 feet and snow above that, with the possibility of thunderstorms.

Much farther to the North, the main highway between Southern and Central California was shut Sunday in both directions as blowing snow and ice from another winter storm made driving conditions treacherous for scores of travelers trying to return home at the end of a holiday weekend.
The Grapevine area of Interstate 5 was closed indefinitely around 1 p.m. Sunday after cars began sliding in lanes, said California Highway Patrol Officer Ed Jacobs. The freeway was still shut down on Monday morning.

Vehicles were being detoured onto routes 14 and 58 through Lancaster and Mojave, though snow was also falling and threatening closures there and the roads were badly jammed, Jacobs said. The CHP recommended avoiding mountain travel altogether for the night.
Rafael Franco, who works at a Shell service station in Lebec where the freeway is shut down, said there were at least 50 people waiting out the closure, and some of them setting up camp, in his parking lot and the lot of the taco stand next door.
Franco said the station's system broke down because of the weather.
"We closed it due to the snow and the rain and stuff," Franco told The Associated Press in a phone interview. "A lot of people were getting very aggravated with me."
Despite the shutdown, trucker Robert Cranmer was headed north toward Interstate 5 as he attempted to take a payload from Southern California to Oakland.
"If it's snowing and it's closed, it's closed," Cranmer told the Riverside Press-Enterprise with a laugh as he fueled his truck in Colton, and pointed toward his big rig's sleeping compartment. "There's an advantage to keeping a bedroom right behind you."
Winds were gusting to 90 mph in mountain areas and snow was accumulating at elevations as low as 1,500 feet. Between four and eight inches was expected in some areas. Forecasters said six inches was likely in Lancaster and at other spots on the Antelope Valley floor, which is about 2,300 feet above sea level.
By mid-afternoon, heavy snow made driving difficult in the Santa Clarita area, and steady rain had moved across the coastal plains and valleys.
More than an inch of rain was expected in the Los Angeles area through Monday, with temperatures dipping into the 40s.
It's the latest in a series of winter storms that saturated Southern California for much of December.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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