Los Angeles

Drivers Wait Out Overnight Closure on the 5 Freeway North of LA

Some drivers spent the night in cars as they waited for severe weather conditions to clear

Stranded drivers could only sit and wait overnight as snow, ice and several crashes forced an hours-long closure of the 5 Freeway north of Los Angeles. 

Southbound lanes reopened early Monday morning. Northbound lanes were expected to reopen at about 7 a.m., but drivers were not allowed through the area until late Monday morning.

The extreme weather and several crashes forced the CHP to shut down the freeway, stranding drivers in the Lebec area. Phillip Gonzales says he was stuck for nearly two hours until he finally got off the freeway, looking for a new way home.

"It sucks to be in it, but it is a safety matter," he said. "So it's a good thing they closed it."

Some welcomed the hail and snow.

"It hailed pretty hard," said Fernando Olague, of Santa Clarita. "The windshield was full of ice. It was pretty neat."

Fernando Olague and his son, Anthony, drove right through the storm on the 14 Freeway on Sunday.

"It looked like snow, but it was ice," Anthony said.

Ketrina Guerrero and her boyfriend slept in their car outside of a Denny's. They were trying to get home to nearby Gorman.

"It was extremely icy," Guerrero said. "We had people losing control in front of us. It was crazy."

Drivers were urged to use caution or avoid travel altogether on mountain roads as the latest in a string of winter storms moved into Southern California. Transportation officials are still clearing mud and debris from a much more powerful storm that forced the closure of several highways last week.

Snow and ice also shut down the 15 Freeway near the Nevada state line. Several crashes were reported early Monday. The road reopened by the afternoon.

Recent storms pounding the region have forced some state highway and lane closures Sunday in the area of the Angeles National Forest. 

Angeles Crest (2) Highway was closed in both directions from just east of Mount Wilson Road to just west of Upper Big Tujunga Road, according to Caltrans. The closure was ordered due to rock slides and unstable conditions. Emergency vehicles will be permitted and the public can bypass this closed section by taking the Angeles Crest Highway to Upper Big Tujunga Road, which is about a 20-minute detour.

The mountain road also was closed in both directions at Kratka Ridge to Islip Saddle due to snow and rock slides.

State Route 39 (San Gabriel Canyon Road) was closed in both directions until further notice from Crystal Lake Road to Angeles Crest Highway due to mud and rock slides. State Route 39 is open in both directions been the San Gabriel River Bridge and Crystal Lake Road.

NBC4 Wire Services contributed to this report.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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