Historic Snow Storm Hits the Tri-Community

PHOTO: Samuel Prince

Saturday morning in Wrightwood during the storm. Photo is facing South at the corner of Thrush Rd and Lone Pine Canyon Rd off Hwy 2.

A Blizzard Warning was issued for Friday, February 24th through the National Weather Service in the San Bernardino County Mountains. This is the first time a blizzard warning has been issued for SB County. The historic storm caused roads to shutdown, businesses to close and schools to be canceled.

Snowline School District canceled school on Thursday, February 23rd and Friday, February 24th. The severe weather and heavy snow storm that came through Friday night also caused Hwy 138 to shut down from Beekley to Hess Road. Significant snowfall continued into Saturday which caused dangerous driving conditions and more road closures throughout the Tri-Community.

Snow Cat (SC) 14 assists with search and rescue operation near Jackson Lake. (Photo: SBCFire)

According to the San Bernardino County Fire Department, local firefighters from Station 14 in Wrightwood rescued multiple people that were trapped in their vehicles on hazardous roads. Station 14 is also equipped with Snow Cat (SC) 14, which is a 2021 PistenBully that is fitted with a snow plow and diesel engine. This new equipment was instrumental to firefighters when they helped locate and evacuate three adults and a dog after their vehicle became stuck in a ditch and trapped in snow near Jackson Lake. The crew cut trees with chainsaws in order to successfully rescue the victims during the storm, who were thankfully uninjured.

Snowfall in Phelan (Photo: Michelle Hannon)

Only a few businesses were able to open in Wrightwood during the weekend, including the Village Grind, Mountain Hardware, Jensens and Sarah’s Metal Workshop. Unfortunately, Mt. High was closed all weekend due to the road closures, but they happily reported that the resort had received approximately 7 feet of snow.

In fact, according to the National Weather Service, as of 11:00am Sunday, February 26, 2023, Mountain High had the most snowfall since Thursday totaling 7.75 feet of snow. Acorn Canyon received about 4.5 feet, and Wrightwood 3.5 – 4.0 of Snow. Reports of 8-12 inches of snow have been reported by residents in Pinon Hills and Phelan. The latest storm also brought extremely high winds and precipitation to the area. With The Middle Fork Lytle Creek (elev. 3740 ft.) receiving a whopping 9 inches of rain. Mormon Rocks reported almost 6 inches and Phelan Landfill 2.5 inches.

Although Caltrans had crews working all throughout the weekend, the amount of snow lead to continued road closures in the mountains on Monday, February 27th. San Bernardino County officials are warning people not to travel to the mountains anytime soon since snow plows are continuing to clear roadways. Today, Hwy 138 into Wrightwood is closed to non-residents, Mt. High Resort was closed, and schools were canceled.

More snow, wind, and even rain is forecasted for the beginning of this week in both Wrightwood and Phelan. The bulk of the storm is expected Tuesday night and on Wednesday but is expected to clear out, just in time for the beginning of March. For a detailed weather forecast in Phelan/Pinon Hills, click here, and for weather forecast in Wrightwood, click here.

The Tri-Community hasn’t seen a weather event like this for many years so be safe when traveling and stay up to date with current road closures by fallowing Caltrans on Twitter @Caltrans8 or visit quickmap.dot.ca.gov

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