California Storms Shut Down Mountain Highway Passes

First responders work the scene of an accident after a hail storm on Malibu Canyon Road in Malibu, California, Jan. 23, 2021.
California Highway Patrol via AP

The latest in a series of storms left California mountains frosted in snow, shutting down highway passes due to dangerous conditions.

The California Highway Patrol late Monday closed Interstate 5 to traffic near Tejon Pass, which rises to an elevation of more than 4,100 feet (1,249 meters) through mountains between Los Angeles and the San Joaquin Valley. The closure was expected to last throughout the night.

Winds, snow and ice also briefly shut down State Route 58 through Tehachapi Pass in eastern Kern County, Caltrans said. An alternate, SR178, remained open but chains were required.

Storms began arriving in California late last week in a major change of the weather pattern following a fall and early winter of sporadic rain and snow that left overall precipitation below normal.

Amid sunshine and clear skies between rain and snow showers, the state remained blanketed in numerous types of storm warnings, with another system described as a moderate atmospheric river expected to arrive on Tuesday and last into Thursday.

Flash flood watches and evacuation warnings were to go into effect for areas north and south of San Francisco Bay, where the National Weather Service cited “high confidence that thresholds for debris flows will be met” in many of last year’s wildfire burn scars.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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