In southern California, snow has trapped people for days Missed-news

John Radleigh thought he was ready for the blizzard that raged in the mountains of southern California for a week. A general contractor who has lived for more than five decades in Lake Arrowhead, a vacation in Hamlet, he had a backup generator and gasoline for his snow blower. He had enough food to snuggle up with his family and chains for the tires on his car.

And yet, he said, he found himself in a sort of Sisyphus struggle every day. Every time he shoveled snow from his driveway, it piled up again.

“It’s a bit daunting,” said Radleigh, 63. “It’s a lot, the most I’ve seen since I’ve been here.”

In the aftermath of a blizzard that left parts of Southern California buried under up to 10 feet of snow, emergency workers and volunteers were still scrambling Friday to help dozens of residents and tourists unaccustomed to the sheer amount of snow. rainfall, and all of the problems that come with it.

Although the sun has been shining since the storm ended Wednesday, towering snow berms still trapped people in cabins and cars on driveways, preventing them from leaving Arrowhead Lake and Big Bear Mountain destinations. normally popular with Southern California skiers and snowboarders. . Many have run out of food and prescription drugs.

Natural gas lines fractured, sparking five fires in two days, authorities said. When firefighters arrived to extinguish the flames, they found ice-covered fire hydrants and feet of snow.

On Thursday, Governor Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency in 13 counties affected by winter storms, including those that are home to Yosemite National Park, which has been closed indefinitely, and Lake Tahoe. But his statement focused in particular on San Bernardino County, which has drawn 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 treacherous not only because the week-long storm was unusually cold and intense, but also because many visitors to the Southern California may have underestimated its impact.

“It’s a place that people can get to quickly from Los Angeles, so there’s a mix of people who aren’t necessarily used to these types of risks and challenges,” he said. “They may have been prepared for several days of snow, but then they get stuck.”

He noted that the narrow, winding roads that lead into mountain communities can be difficult to navigate on a good day.

The state sent snowplows and equipment from the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, as well as the California National Guard, to help get residents out.

CalDART, a network of pilots who volunteer to help in disasters, helped orchestrate the deliveries to people in need. Zachary Oliver, owner of On the Mountain Marine and Storage, a boat storage and repair business in Lake Arrowhead, said he had helped coordinate those flights.

“It was food, medicine and baby supplies,” he said. “Nobody has formula or diapers, that’s a big one we’re needing here.”

The San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department used helicopters Thursday to deliver boxes of ready-to-eat meals, packages more typically associated with the military or backpacking, to help keep people stuck in the mountains.

The trapped residents said they had no idea when they would be able to leave. And those who had escaped the storm waited anxiously at the foot of the mountains to return.

David and Daphne Salas said they were grateful to be part of one of the first caravans allowed to reach Lake Arrowhead on Tuesday, having spent last weekend out of town. They followed the emergency lights of a Stater Brothers grocery delivery truck through the fog. Abandoned cars passed.

When they got to their house, their neighbor, Mr. Radleigh, had helped clear the space for their cars.

“Basically, we had to crawl like alligators up the hill with our groceries,” said Salas, 51. They then had to fight their way to the front door.

Since then, the family has been trying to keep their spirits up, watching the nine-foot icicles and trying to keep their dog, a shar-pei pit bull named Sonny, from sinking into the snow like quicksand. They have been stretching out what Ms. Salas, 50, estimated to be four more days worth of meat, pasta, rice, beans and tortillas.

“It’s beautiful but dangerous right now,” he said. “We can’t even go out and enjoy it.”

At a news conference Friday, San Bernardino County officials tried to reassure residents that help was on the way.

“Friends, we are here for you,” Sheriff Shannon Dicus said. “We’re going to dig you up, and let’s go.”

Still, Sheriff Dicus stressed that state highway networks, frontage roads and even driveways were like the arteries, veins and capillaries of a large body and said it would take time to clean them up. Crews have made progress carving a narrow path for vehicles along many highways, but have not been able to create much space for cars to stop or pass. In many cases, they still need to dig through walls of snow to create walkways on each property for people and vehicles to exit.

Officials said it could take at least another week before they allow access to mountain communities to anyone beyond residents and emergency teams.

Authorities urged residents to crouch, if they could, and stretch out their grocery stores, as it was unclear when grocery stores would be able to operate normally.

When Matt Zack arrived last week at Jensen’s Finest Foods, the family-owned supermarket he co-owns in Blue Jay, not far from Lake Arrowhead, he knew snow was in the forecast. The store had been stocked with bread, milk, eggs, firewood and other basics, and the locals had started emptying them. The store kept supplying people until earlier this week, when the storm’s “last ditch effort” packed another 18 inches of snow.

During previous storms, enough snow was able to be removed from the decades-old building to prevent the roof from collapsing. But when Mr. Zack climbed a ladder this time, he was faced with a pile about five feet high, he reckoned. There just wasn’t enough time, or enough people, to lighten the load sufficiently.

The ceiling was caved in, he noted. A building inspector ordered the place closed and Mr. Zack didn’t know when or if he would reopen. The roof of another grocery store, Goodwin and Sons, the only one in nearby Crestline, had completely collapsed. No one was hurt, but Mr. Zack said he knew it was painful to be off duty in a time of such need.

“It’s just that we’re here to serve the community,” said Mr. Zack, 54. “It’s heartbreaking.”

The charge In southern California, snow has trapped people for days first appeared in New York Times.

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