Mon. Jul 22nd, 2024

Residents in Southern California remain trapped by snow as another round of winter weather hits the northern region of the state

After back-to-back winter storms overwhelmed many of California’s mountain communities with snow, another round of snowfall is headed to the Sierra Nevada region, while the state’s hard-hit southern San Bernardino County will get a reprieve as some residents who remain trapped by walls of snow are concerned about their dwindling supplies.

The Sierra Nevada mountain range could see 1 to 3 inches of snow through Tuesday, following a weekend that brought as much as 38 inches of snow over a 24-hour period to Soda Springs in Nevada County and 31 inches to Donner Peak in Placer County.

The heavy weekend snowfall combined with high wind gusts have prompted avalanche warnings across parts of the central and southern Sierra Nevada through Monday.
Several rounds of snow have pummeled the region in recent days, prompting Yosemite National Park to close indefinitely. The park said it has received up to 15 feet of snowfall in some areas.
But further south in San Bernardino County, where emergency crews have been working to reach communities immobilized by heavy snow, mountainous areas may only see light snow showers Monday morning before getting a much-needed break for most of the week.

UPS delivery driver Juan Hernandez delivers a package to a snow-covered home in Truckee, California, Friday.

‘People are getting desperate’

The series of winter storms that have moved across the Western US left many in the San Bernardino mountains trapped in their homes with driveways blocked and cars buried under snow piles that sometimes towered as high as second-story windows. Critical businesses in the area, including some grocery stores, have been forced to close.
“People are getting desperate. They need medication. They need food for their children,” said Derek Hayes, a resident of the community of Cedar Glen. He said he has been snowshoeing out of his home for days to get groceries and check on elderly neighbors.
San Bernardino County is one of 13 under a state of emergency issued by Gov. Gavin Newsom last week, allowing for an influx of emergency personnel and resources, including the California National Guard, to support rescue and recovery.
One of the most critical tasks has been plowing about 500 miles of tight, winding roads throughout the San Bernardino County mountain areas, officials said last week.
By Sunday, about 80% of the county-maintained roadways had been made passable, the county said in an update. “Passable means at least one lane open with less than 8 inches of snow, which can be navigated by four-wheel drive vehicles with chains.” the update said.
Approximately 150 people were rescued from their neighborhoods Saturday and an additional 22 residents were taken to shelters or off the mountain on Sunday, the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Office said. Deputies also distributed food to residents over the weekend.
Some residents, however, say that though the main roads may be cleared, their neighborhood streets are still blanketed in snow, meaning they must either wait for help or trek miles to reach shelters or food distribution sites, which is not an option for those who are disabled or elderly.
Hayes said a snowplow operator told him that his road couldn’t be plowed because snow-covered cars were on the street.

People wait for food at Goodwin & Son's Market in Crestline, California, Friday.

“We were promised that help is coming. But we’re getting a little impatient here,” he said. “We maybe have a week’s food left. A lot of our stores are closed now because of roof collapse and the gas stations seem to be short on fuel still.”
“I’m not sure how much longer we can hold out,” he said.
San Bernardino County resident Iliana Vargas and her family have been unable to return to their home for days after they ventured out to get supplies, only to be told they could not return to the house due to road closures.
“We have our whole life up there, our businesses, my job, my laptop, everything is there,” Vargas said. She is concerned her house may collapse from the weight of the snow piled on it and is eager to get home to try to prevent it, Vargas said.
by Monica Garrett, Rebekah Reiss, Sarah Moon, David Williams, Michelle Watson, Dakin Andone and Paradise Afshar contributed to this report. source