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Snow shuts down Interstate 5 traffic in Tejon Pass

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POSTED February 27, 2012 7:50 p.m.

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A cold storm moving across Southern California on Monday froze traffic, slowing or stranding thousands of motorists on Interstate 5 north of Los Angeles, dumping snow and hail on mountains, and bringing high, hazardous surf to beaches.

Interstate 5 was shut down in both directions shortly after 2 p.m. due to snow in Tejon Pass, which rises more than 4,100 feet between Los Angeles and the San Joaquin Valley, the California Department of Transportation said.

Snow was expected as low as 2,500 feet.

Television news helicopters showed thousands of vehicles stopped or moving at a crawl, with some drivers turning off their cars and getting out.

Snow and heavy hail also hit the San Gabriel Mountains, affecting commutes between Los Angeles and the Antelope Valley, California Highway Patrol Officer Vince Ramirez said.

Chains were required on sections of Route 2 in the San Gabriels and Route 18 in the San Bernardino Mountains.

Forecasters said strong, gusty would persist in the mountains and deserts, and moderate rain and snow would be interspersed with heavy precipitation and isolated thunderstorms.

While it brought trouble for travelers and commuters, the snow will be welcome at mountain resorts that have been hurting during a warm, dry winter.

There were reports of hail in Pasadena, Bel Air and Santa Ana.

The National Weather Service issued a warning of surf as high as 9 feet and rip currents on beaches from Santa Barbara to Los Angeles.

Forecasters warned of dangerous conditions for swimmers and surfers, especially on exposed, west-facing beaches.

 

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