California: In Southern California, snow trapped people for days

John Radley thought he was ready for the blizzard that hit the mountains in Southern California for a week. A general contractor who has lived for more than five decades in lake arrowhead, a resort hamlet, he had a backup generator and gas for his snowblower. He had enough food to hide with his family and chains for his car tires.
And yet, he said, he found himself in a kind of Sisyphean struggle every day. Every time he cleared snow from his driveway, it piled up. “It’s a little discouraging,” said Radleigh, 63. “It’s so much – the most I’ve seen since I’ve been here.” Following a blizzard that left parts of Southern California buried in 10 feet of snow, rescue workers and volunteers were still scrambling Friday to help dozens of residents and tourists who were unaccustomed to the amount of precipitation – and all the problems that go with it.
Although the sun has been shining since the storm ended on Wednesday, towering snow berms still trapped people in cabins and cars in the driveways, preventing them from leaving Lake Arrowhead and Big Bear Mountain, normally popular destinations for snowmobiles. skiers and snowboarders on a day trip from Southern California. . Many ran out of food and prescription medicine. Natural gas lines were fractured, sparking five fires in two days, officials said. When firefighters arrived to douse the flames, they found hydrants encased in ice and feet of snow.
Governor Gavin Newsom on Thursday declared a state of emergency in 13 counties affected by winter storms, including those home to Yosemite National Park, which has been closed indefinitely, and Lake Tahoe. But his statement mainly focused on San Bernardino County, which is attracting more attention because it is less accustomed to the volume of snow that has fallen there in recent days.
Brian Ferguson, a spokesman for the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services, said the mountains of San Bernardino County had become particularly dangerous not only because the week-long storm was unusually cold and intense, but also because that many visitors to Southern California would have underestimated its impact. “It’s a place where people can get to quickly from LA, so there’s a mix of people who aren’t necessarily used to those kinds of risks and challenges,” he said. “They may have been prepared for several days of snow, but then they get trapped.” The narrow, winding roads leading to mountain communities, he noted, can be tricky to navigate on good days.
The state sent snowplows and crews from the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, as well as the California National Guard, to help dig up the residents. CalDART, a network of pilots who volunteer to help in disasters, helped orchestrate deliveries to people in need. Zachary Oliver, owner of On the Mountain Marine and Storage, a boat repair and storage business on Lake Arrowhead, said he helped coordinate those thefts. “It was food, medicine and baby supplies,” he said. “No one has a formula or diapers – that’s a big one we need here.”
The San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department used helicopters Thursday to deliver boxes of ready-to-eat meals, packages more commonly associated with the military or backpackers, to help support people stuck in the mountains.
The trapped residents said they had no idea when they might leave. And those who had escaped the storm waited anxiously at the foot of the mountains to return. At a news conference on Friday, San Bernardino County officials sought to reassure residents that help was on the way. “My friends, we are here for you,” said Sheriff Shannon Dicus. “We’re going to dig you up, and we’re coming.” Still, Dicus pointed out that it would take time to clear the roads.


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