Crews rescue snow-stranded drivers in San Bernardino Mountains – Los Angeles Times

Fire crews rescued 136 people stranded on steep, snowy roads in the San Bernardino Mountains during a cold winter storm, officials said early Wednesday. 

Heavy snow stalled motorists and prompted the overnight rescue operation between high desert and mountain communities. Some drivers were stuck in about a foot of snow along Highway 138, which winds through the mountains between Crestline and Silverwood Lake, said San Bernardino County Fire Department spokeswoman Tracey Martinez. 

Firefighters worked to free the trapped drivers and check for injuries, completing the operation at about 3 a.m. Wednesday, she said. No serious crashes or medical emergencies were reported, and 50 people were transported to First Baptist Church in Crestline, where Red Cross workers provided supplies and assistance, officials said. 

The California Highway Patrol reported calls of stranded motorists in the area for much of Tuesday night.

The southbound 15 Freeway in Hesperia was closed just before 9 p.m. after several cars became stuck in snow, said CalTrans spokeswoman Terri Kasinga. Similarly, nearly all of State Route 38 — from Forest Falls to Big Bear Dam Road — was closed as vehicles became stranded in the snow.

The cold storm from Canada has brought heavy winds and several inches of snow across Southern California.

The National Weather Service forecast snow across the region to as low as 2,000 feet above sea level. The Antelope Valley and San Gabriel Mountains were expected to see a dusting, while higher elevations in Los Angeles County were expected to see up to 5 inches.

Strong winds were reported from Ventura down to the southern reaches of Orange County. Fremont Canyon in Orange County saw winds up to 57 mph, while Malibu Hills saw gusts up to 70 mph, the weather service said.

Weather service meteorologist Greg Martin said the strong winds would continue through Wednesday morning but drop off in the late afternoon. The snow and light rain are expected to move out by late Wednesday.

“When things clear out, it should get colder,” Martin said.

The Antelope and San Luis Obispo valleys could see lows between 12 and 20 degrees Wednesday night, while the flats of Los Angeles and Ventura counties are expected to see lows from the 20s and to the low 30s. 

For breaking news in California, follow @MattHjourno and @NicoleCharky. Hamilton can be reached at matt.hamilton@latimes.com, Charky at nicole.charky@latimes.com

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