Reporting Tom Reopelle
SAN DIEGO (CBS) — Wild weather forced the closure of a major stretch of freeway between San Diego and Arizona on Monday that left hundreds of cars and trucks stuck for hours.
KNX 1070′s Tom Reopelle reports motorists along Interstate 8 were eventually escorted through the area by the California Highway Patrol.
Authorities were forced to close the interstate in both directions from Alpine to Ocotillo in Imperial County after 3 inches of snow packed on top of 4 inches of ice early Monday morning.
The closure began around 1:30 a.m. and lasted through shortly after 9:00 a.m. when CHP officers began escorting motorists across the desert landscape that triggered several accidents with a rare mix of rain, wind, snow, ice, and hail.
Over a dozen snow plows cleared out the interstate as around 100 vehicles were parked waiting for lanes to reopen.
CHP Officer Brian Pennings said the flurry was one for the record books.
“I can never remember in my 17-year career having to close it for snow or ice,” said Pennings. “We have to close it maybe once or twice a year because of high winds and we get high-profile vehicles that blow over.”