BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — As of early Thursday night, both directions of the Grapevine were still open and the California Highway Patrol was no longer pacing traffic. But conditions along the Grapevine can change in an instant.
The Grapevine shut down for five hours on Wednesday morning as snow and ice created problems on the roadways. Stuck travelers were eager to get back home.
Fortunately, travel along the Grapevine did resume just before noon at which point the CHP paced traffic in both directions for two hours before standing down.
However, with light rain and snow possible along the roadways in the evening hours another closure is possible and travelers should be prepared.
"Just make sure that you got plenty of gas, that your tires are in good shape," warned CHP Officer Rich Anthes. "Make sure you've got some snacks, maybe some blankets, some water to keep water, just in case something bad happens."
But it wasn't just snow and ice that caused issues. Wind gusts of up to 65 miles per hour reported at the base of the Grapevine causing tumbleweeds to mark up cars. Winds also kicked up dust which affected visibility.
"It's a little dangerous. We have to make sudden stops because it just turns into a sandstorm," said one driver.
Back in Bakersfield PG&E crews responded to dozens of outages as wind flurries knocked down power lines, causing thousands of customers to lose power.
In Frazier Mountain Park there were white mountains and hillsides and wet roads along the I-5 still forced trucks to proceed with caution in what has been a wild week of weather.
CalTrans crews are on standby should they need to scrape ice and snow off the roadway. At last check, CHP has been monitoring the freeway.
According to the 23ABC's Brandon Michaels, the state has seen anything from feet of snow to flooding rains, but in Kern County winds have been the issue. Winds have gusted as high as 80 miles per hour Wednesday, bring widespread wind damage and blowing dust to the county.
As our winds die down Thursday rain will begin to move in. The atmospheric river, a deep plume of tropical moisture, will drop into Kern County, bringing us some very heavy rain on Thursday, with showers lingering into Friday. Rain totals will be around a half an inch in Bakersfield, with up to an inch possible farther north and west in the Valley. Areas in the Desert may pick up as much as half an inch too.
The area will also see rain at pass level Thursday, with snow levels around 5,000 feet. Mountain areas above 5,000 feet will likely never see a change over to rain, so heavy snow is likely, with 6 to 12 inches possible, and up to two feet on some of the highest peaks in the county! Be on the lookout for ponding and even some localized flooding on Thursday.
Take it slow on wet roads, and turn on your headlights if it's raining!