MURRIETA (CBSLA.com) — The snow that hit Lake Elsinore and nearby communities Tuesday night and Wednesday also led to concerns on the highway above the Riverside County city.
About 50 people were trapped in their vehicles on Highway 74 (Ortega Highway) after the weather deteriorated rapidly Tuesday night.
CBS2’s Tom Wait spoke with one of the drivers, Mo Pollum.
“Stuck. Couldn’t move. Couldn’t do anything,” Pollum said.
As he spent the night trapped in the bitter cold on Ortega Highway, which cuts through the Cleveland National Forest between Lake Elsinore and San Juan Capistrano, Pollum said conditions rapidly deteriorated.
“The snow was like knee-deep. I stepped out of my car — I could barely open my car door. Snow came up to my knees,” he said.
Pollum snapped photos of the blinding snow that stranded him. From 10 p.m. until 6 a.m. Wednesday, he was among the 50 or so people trapped on the highway.
“I wasn’t scared,” he said. “But on the same token after a while I was freezing cold; my car was running low on fuel.”
The California Highway Patrol was finally able to get everyone to safety, but Pollum had to abandon his BMW, which was still stuck as of Wednesday afternoon.
“Stuff was just freezing in my car,” he said.
And while the weather created dangerous conditions, it also made for a lot of fun for families from Murrieta, Wildomar and Lake Elsinore, who got out to enjoy the rare weather event.