SoCal Storm: Snow, Gusty Winds Result in Road Closures and Toppled Trees

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A winter storm brought snow, rain and gusty winds to parts of Southern California on Wednesday, prompting road closures, toppling trees, and stranding scores of motorists in San Bernardino County.

Trucks at a dealership in Lake Elsinore were blanketed with snow on Wednesday, Dec. 31,, 2014. (Credit: KTLA)

Trucks at a dealership in Lake Elsinore were blanketed with snow on Wednesday, Dec. 31,, 2014. (Credit: KTLA)

In Riverside County, snowfall led to the temporary closure of the northbound 15 Freeway in Murrieta, at Clinton Keith Road. All lanes were open as of 5:13 a.m., according to Caltrans.

Throughout the morning, Good Samaritans in Wildomar used their trucks and SUVs to tow several vehicles — including at least two semitrailers — that had become stranded on Baxter Road near the 15 Freeway (map).

"I was on my way to work in Escondido, saw some people in trouble, needed to get them out," the driver of a four-wheel-drive Jeep Cherokee, who identified himself only as Greg, said.

State Route 74 was closed between Grand Avenue, in Lake Elsinore, and Orange County due to snow and stranded vehicles, according to a tweet from Caltrans.

California Highway Patrol officers, assisted by deputies and search-and-rescue personnel from the Orange County Sheriff's Department, were assisting several motorists who were trapped in their vehicles on the Ortega Highway in the Santa Ana Mountains, authorities said on Twitter.

One-hundred-and-thirty-six motorists near the San Bernardino County community of Crestline were rescued by firefighters overnight Tuesday along the snow-covered State Route 138 (map), officials said.

Another 50 people were temporarily stranded amid similar wintry conditions near Mt. Baldy, where the storm had dropped 3 inches of snow. Forty of those people were sheltered at the Mt. Baldy Lodge, while others were shuttled to a fire station in San Antonio Heights, the San Bernardino County Fire Department said.


More than 130 motorists were rescued after being stranded on State Route 138 overnight Tuesday, Dec. 30, 2014, authorities said. (Credit: San Bernardino Fire Department)

All of the rescues were complete as of 3 a.m. Wednesday morning, the department said in a statement. No serious collisions or injuries were reported.

Meanwhile, trees felled by gusty winds in Los Angeles County caused damage to homes and power wires.

A large tree crashed into the living room of a La Crescenta house, in the 4900 block of Ramsdell Avenue (map), and landed on a van parked in the driveway about 10 p.m. Tuesday. No one was injured in the incident.

A wind advisory was scheduled to be in effect until 4 p.m. in the Inland Empire, where gusts of 55 mph were expected below the Cajon Pass, the National Weather Service said.

It wasn't all bad, though. Many were out enjoying the unusual weather.

In Orange County's Trabuco Canyon, firefighters reported people snowboarding and sledding and "having a blast," Fire Authority Capt. Steve Concialdi said.

Snow coated the golf course at Pechanga Resort & Casino in Temecula as well.

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