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Snow Prompts Road Restrictions Throughout SoCal Mountains [Updated]

Snow blocking a road near Mount Wilson in 2005.
Snow blocking a road near Mount Wilson in 2005.  | Photo: Thomas Levinson/Flickr/Creative Commons License

With final updates below. Further updates will be posted in a new story.

Snow, snow everywhere! In the mountainous areas at least. As of 10:45 a.m., the winter storm that arrived early this morning has prompted plenty of road restrictions and a few closures. Here's what's going on:

Angeles National Forest [Updated]

[Update, 12:00 p.m., Dec. 9: Restrictions for the road up to Mount Wilson have been lifted, but remains for Big Pines Highway and Table Mountain Road.]

[Update, 11:30 a.m., Dec. 8: The closures on Upper Big Tujunga and Angeles Forest Highway have been lifted. Other closures and restrictions remain.]

As planned, Upper Big Tujunga Canyon is closed, as well as the southern portion of Angeles Forest Highway south of Tujunga Canyon. What wasn't expected is the chain or snow tire requirement heading up to Mount Wilson.

Additionally, Angeles Crest Highway (Highway 2) between the road up to Mount Wilson and Islip Saddle is closed to vehicles except those with all-wheel drive or "chains, traction devices or snow tires on the drive axle," according to Caltrans. The same goes for all of Big Pines Highway and Table Mountain Road near Wrightwood.

San Bernardino National Forest [Updated]

[Update, 12:00 p.m., Dec. 9: All restrictions have been lifted in the San Bernardino Mountains.]

[Update, 11:30 a.m., Dec. 8 Restrictions on Highway 243 have been lifted while an additional restriction to Highway 38 in the San Bernardino Mountains has been added north of Yucaipa.]

Not unusual for a winter storm like this are the closures throughout the San Bernardino Mountains leading up to Big Bear. The same all-wheel drive/traction device requirement is in play for most of Highway 18 between San Bernardino and Big Bear Lake, as well as a portion of Highway 138 near its intersection with the 18 and Highway 173 near Arrowhead.

Down south in the San Jacinto Mountains, a small portion of Highway 243 north of Idyllwild has the same restrictions.

The Grapevine [Updated]

Snow and ice forced closure of the Golden State (5) Freeway over the Grapevine at Tejon Pass, blocking the main artery between Central and Southern California.

Caltrans blocked uphill traffic at Castaic and in the San Joaquin Valley at 9:36 a.m.

No estimated time for reopening was been made, and the public is advised to expect delays, according to a department statement.

The nearest freeway detour, involving state routes 14 and 58 via Lancaster and Tehachapi Pass, are also reported closed.

Los Padres National Forest

Highway 33 north of Ojai has all-wheel drive/traction requirements between Wheeler Campgrounds and Lockwood Valley Road.

Southern and Eastern Sierra [Updated]

[Update, 11:30 a.m., Dec. 8 The restrictions along highway 178, 6, 203, and 168 toward Bishop Creek Canyon have been lifted. The same goes for up and down Interstate 395.]

[Update, 1:20 p.m.: The restrictions along the floor of Owens Valley have been lifted.]

Here's where you might get some snow and Joshua tree pictures. Near Lake Isabella, a drive on a six-mile stretch of Highway 178 from Highway 14 will require all-wheel drive or a traction device.

For the second time this season, portions of Interstate 395 is closed on the Owens Valley floor south of Lone Pine. The farther north you go toward the Nevada border, the more you'll need them.

The same restrictions apply to Highway 168 in both directions, Highway 203 into Mammoth Lakes, Interstate 6 near the state line, the southern half of June Lake Loop (Highway 158).

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