"HELP US!!": Southern California Mountain Residents Go Into Survival Mode After Snowpocalypse
While Southern California's major mountain towns have been largely plowed following last week's powerful winter storm, residents of smaller mountain communities, particularly those living in the outskirts, have gone into survival mode.
"The only way I could describe this is like if we had an avalanche fall over the San Bernardino Mountains and we're just stuck," Lake Arrowhead resident Pablo Tello told KABC.
Roads remain impassible as people make the cold trek in search of needed supplies.
Gordon walked a mile to and from his home looking for food.
Crestline's only grocery store, Goodwin & Sons Market, was destroyed after its roof collapsed under the weight of snow. -KABC
A life and death situation is unfolding in #SanBernardinoMountains after this week’s powerful #winterstorm. This is #Crestline, #California on March 4. #abc7eyewitness #cawx #weather #californiablizzard pic.twitter.com/H4xPJ4O54a— David González (@abc7DavidGonz) March 4, 2023
Local Facebook groups are full of people concerned about their neighbors and discussing the situation.
"It's so much snow, there's nowhere to put it," Crestline, CA resident James Gordon told KABC. "I've been up on this mountain my whole life from Big Bear to here in Crestline, and this is the worst storm I've seen in 30 some odd years I've been up here."
"We only stay stocked up for maybe three or four days, and the grocery store is just down the street, so we're like it's not a big deal, but then when the grocery store collapsed and all these trees are snapping and we're in and out of power it's real hard right now," he added.
According to Fox11 Los Angeles, some California mountain residents could be snowed in for another week.
"We’ve said we could push it out as far as two weeks but because of the state’s efforts and the equipment that’s coming in behind us we’re hoping to drop that down to a week," said San Bernardino County Sheriff Shannon Dicus in a press conference.
"The enormity of this event is hard to comprehend," said state Assemblyman Tom Lackey. "You know, we’re thinking, ‘We’re in Southern California,’ but yet we have had an inundation that has really, really generated a severe amount of anxiety, frustration and difficulty, especially to the victims and those who are actually trapped in their own home."
Shelah Riggs said the street she lives on in Crestline hasn’t seen a snowplow in eight days, leaving people in about 80 homes along the roadway with nowhere to go. Typically, a plow comes every day or two when it snows, she said. -FoxLA
"We are covered with five or six feet (1.5 or 1.8 meters); nobody can get out of their driveways at all," said Riggs in a telephone interview, adding that the county's response has been "horrible" and that "people are really angry."
San Bernardino is one of 13 counties for which a state of emergency was declared due to the impacts of severe weather.
In Mono City, a small community on the eastern edge of the Sierra Nevada near Yosemite National Park, some residents have been snowed in without power for a week, the Mono County Sheriff’s Office posted Friday on Facebook. In the northern part of the state, mountain communities grappling with the conditions have smaller populations and are more accustomed to significant snowfall. -FoxLA
"I’m getting more upset by the day," said Devine Horvath of Crestline, who said it took she and her son 30 minutes to walk down the street to check on a neighbor - a trek that normally takes just minutes.
According to CA DOT official Jim Rogers, crews working 24-hour shifts have removed more than 2.6 million cubic yards of snow from state highways.
That said, officials also described a host of problems reopening smaller roads - which include buried vehicles and downed power lines. Residents have been urged to try and mark the locations of buried cars.
"We are going house to house, and we’re literally using shovels to shovel out driveways to make sure that people have access to their cars," said county fire chief Dan Munsey. "As the roads are plowed, you still have a 10-foot (3-meter) berm of snow that you need to make it over."