LEBEC (CBSLA) — Reporters try not to become part of the story but KCAL9’s Jeff Nguyen — reporting on snow in the Grapevine and drivers becoming stranded — found himself stuck as well.
The fast-falling snow forced the closure of the Grapevine in both directions due to a number of crashes.
“It’s pretty gnarly out here,” Nguyen reported. “Things are going sideways. The snow will hit you in the eye and it’s really stinging.”
And he didn’t just mean the snow.
Motorists seeking a respite from the weather quickly filled most of the area hotels, putting rooms at a premium.
At the Motel 6 in Lebec, he noted a full lobby of people looking for a warm and dry place.
And speaking of warm and dry places, Nguyen revealed he and his photographer were unable to book hotel rooms – so it looked like he would be sleeping in less than ideal conditions.
“We are part of the booked up situation out here,” he said, “so chances are, we’re probably going to spend the night in the news van. So for anyone who thinks TV news is all that glamorous it really isn’t. But listen — I’m not trying to be funny or anything. We’re out here to serve the public, right? And our main goal is to inform you so we are here so that you don’t have to be here.”
Nguyen added a serious note.
“It’s very dangerous, it’s not worth risking it. And we’re not going to do that. We have chains in our truck, and out trucks are very top heavy, and we are still staying put to make sure we get stuck on the road. The last thing you want to do is get into a crash and the CHP or someone has to come and pull you out. So we’re going to stay put like a lot of the good folks out here.”
The good folks who ventured out of the hotel would find more snow, a lot more, than when they walked inside.
Nguyen walked through the parking lot and was able to push snow off the back of one truck to show how much had fallen in just about four hours, estimating there was “at least a couple of inches there.”
Visibility appeared to be zero. A series of trucks had pulled over to avoid the slipping and sliding on roads.
Just after 4 p.m., Nguyen reported what had been snow flurries began storming in earnest.
He spoke to one motorist who was trying to get home to a state far, far away. Louie Castaneda was in the area attending a funeral.
“It’s snowing right now,” Castaneda said, “I’m just trying to get back home to Arizona. But I’m trying to find a way to get out of this snow. For the safety of my grandkids.”
Lynwood resident Damian Gaytan was pumped to see the flaky white stuff start to come down.
“I was really excited because this is actually the first time I’ve seen snow,” Gaytan said, “And it’s really cool.”
Caltrans has crews working in 12-hour shifts to try to keep the roads clear.
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