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LOS ANGELES (AP) — The California Highway Patrol has reopened Interstate 5 in a mountain pass north of Los Angeles after a nearly 24-hour closure due to snow and ice that stranded many motorists.

CHP Officer Patrick Etchebarne says the vital route between Southern and Central California reopened shortly before noon Monday, with motorists being escorted over the Tejon Pass in groups of about 500 vehicles.

KNX 1070’s Ed Mertz Reports

The pass was shut down about 12:30 p.m. Sunday as a cold storm dropped snow to very low elevations in the region and made travel treacherous.

penny bennett ugc20110301 03 I 5 Reopens Through Grapevine After Storm Closure

Photos: Click Image For Gallery

Freeways in the Antelope Valley, the populous high desert area north of Los Angeles, also were icy and a winter storm warning was posted.

Classes were canceled for many schools in the high desert and in the San Gabriel and San Bernardino mountain ranges.

On Sunday night, motorists heading back from Las Vegas to Los Angeles spent hours on Interstate 15 crawling over snowy Cajon Pass about 65 miles east of Los Angeles. Repeated accidents dogged the icy drive over the nearly 3,800-foot pass early Monday.

The National Weather Service said snow was falling to elevations as low as 1,500 feet. On Sunday, suburban Santa Clarita just north of Los Angeles got a rare snowfall.

Light showers and breezy weather were expected in the Los Angeles area through Monday, with chilly temperatures the rule.

“It might squeak up to 60,” said Bonnie Bartling, a National Weather Service forecaster. “Not exactly your Southern California weather that you like.”

Dry weather and warmer temperatures could arrive by Thursday, she said.

In the southern San Joaquin Valley, flood watches were canceled as widespread rains began to taper off before dawn Monday.

The bad early January weather comes on the heels of a stormy December that brought heavy rains and snow to California, causing millions of dollars in damage to several communities. States of emergency were declared in 13 counties last month.

» Complete Local Forecast

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Comments (6)
  1. Brian says:

    We were one of the last cars that went thru, snow was coming down heavy and fast. CHP was there to escort us until Tejon Pass but furious winds welcomed us when we got down and power was out on the local Mobil and Jack in the Box store.

  2. Snow in LA?! It’s official…hell has frozen over!

  3. LC says:

    The Grapevine area is not really IN LA…

    1. WDR says:

      LC part of the Grapevine is in LA County.

      1. BchGirl says:

        Yes because when people all over the world say LA they think county not city (sarcasm). Guess Palmdale and Lancaster are considered LA too! NOT.

  4. Joe Flores of Frazier Park says:

    Yes snow is beautiful but it can also be deadly. Especially after a freeway like the 5 is opened and everyone who lives in the valleys comes to drive and apparently play. If you were to play on the 405 or the 101 during a rush hour people would say you have a death wish so why is it that today people were risking there lives playing in the center divider of the 5 freeway. Does snow on the ground mean you can leave your common sense at home.

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