El Nino driven storm brings down trees, temperature
By Terri Hill
Sunday’s massive wind and rain storm wreaked havoc on the Tri-Community. Hail came down, unless it was blowing sideways, as the wind gusts reached 75mph at times.
In Wrightwood, reports of downed trees came from every neighborhood. On Raven Street, just west of the LA County Line, a tree on the south side of the street fell diagonally across the road, with its top landing in a neighbor’s driveway. Several men helped the property owner, in the driving storm, to cut the tree into manageable rounds and remove the obstacle from the cul de sac. A in the area of town referred to as, “the apple orchard,” a giant tree came crashing down on Evergreen Road, near Mountain View. No one was injured, but the incident was reportedly the cause of a power outage on the west side of town. Power was down from 11:35am until 3:30 pm for most of the affected area, and other SCE customers went into the evening without lights. Reports of brown-outs and black-outs came from all over the High Desert on Sunday and into Monday morning.
Snow came down heavily at times, but seemed to blow sideways and not accumulate on the ground. With a low of 22 degrees and Monday’s high temperature not breaching 30, breaking up ice was an issue more so than the shoveling of the foot of snow that had been predicted. Even Victorville residents got a dusting of snow to play in on Sunday.
Big Pines Zipline was unable to run tours due to the wind. Manager Sue Martzolf said, “I sat in the parking lot at 7am and thought, ‘nope, not happening’!” Zipline tours are expected to be back on schedule February 4. Mountain High Resort closed early as the wind made visibility and chair lift rides virtually impossible.
According to SB County Fire, only a few calls came in for medical aid and there was a non-injury traffic collision on Highway 2 at Victorville Street at 8:30 pm.
While the heavy snow expected even into Sunday’s forecasts did not materialize, January certainly went out like a lion.
Caltrans cries a river of anti-icer
By Terri Hill
White, evenly spaced stripes began appearing on Highway 2 and SR 138 before the holidays. While some were not flummoxed by the new patterns on the tarmac, many have asked what the lines are, and why they are there. The answer came from Caltrans last week when Shelli Lombardo, Maintenance and Public Information Officer replied to a request for some specifics.
According to the Cajon Maintenance Superintendent the product being spread prior to new winter storms is an anti-icing solution. When the treatment is applied 24 to 48 hours before a snow and ice weather event, it stops ice from bonding with the road’s surface, thereby preempting the slippery dangerous aftermath of a snowstorm. The solution is a mixture of saline (26%) and water (hence the tears reference in the title). Because the treatment is wet, it is target specific and unlike a dry application, will not get blown away by passing vehicles. Fifty to eighty gallons of the solution is applied per lane mile. Treatment after the ice forms is more expensive and harder on the surface of the road.
Following within one to three car lengths behind a truck as it applies the solution can result in splatter on your vehicle. Caltrans stated that the simple solution could be rinsed off easily with fresh water.
Freeway Accident jams local roads
By Al Morrissette
Shortly after 12am last Monday, one semi was sideswiped by another semi as it passed, causing the first truck to hit a guardrail and eventually fall on its side blocking all southbound lanes on the I-15 just north of Hwy138. The truck spilled fuel and part of the load of soymilk onto the interstate. First responders were able to pull the driver, who was trapped within the truck’s cab, to safety. It took hours for Caltrans to clean up the highway and the load to be removed from the 53-ft trailer so that the cab and trailer could be up righted and removed from the roadway. During that time, Caltrans was able to repair the guardrail.
A few hours later a pedestrian attempted to cross from the I-15 southbound center median to the right shoulder and was killed by a car in the third lane near Ranchero Road. The combination of these incidences backed up the freeway from Hwy.138 north; past Bear Valley Road. Motorists reported that some lanes were open shortly before noon, but stopped traffic took several more hours to clear.
Thousands of motorists trying to avoid the delay took to alternate surface roads winding through Crestline on the east, Hwy 18, and Phelan Road on the west. Adding to the congestion on Phelan Road were several small fender bender accidents and a rollover at the intersection of Beekley and Phelan Rd due to black ice. All this contributed to 11 miles of back up along Phelan Road to the Baldy Mesa intersection. Also the motorists along Hwy18 were detoured onto Oasis Rd to Hwy 138 because of construction on Hwy 18.
Also adding to the congestion, which extended up Beekley and along Hwy 138 and also along Phelan Rd to Hwy138, were local residents commuting down the hill to work and taking students to school, Victor Valley Transportation District buses on their normal routes, and local school buses transporting students.
Some motorists took to dirt roads; others passed traffic along dirt shoulders or from right turn pockets that are not legal pass-through lanes. The congestion was at its worst between 6am and noon and the freeway returned to normal traffic flow by approximately 3pm.
Residents voiced concerns about the traffic not being guided or controlled by the CHP or the County Sheriff within the Phelan area and through West Cajon Valley. Once traffic rejoined the I-15, traffic flow was smooth. In the past the Phelan Citizens on Patrol have been called out to help with traffic control but this time that did not happen. Facebook and Twitter social media were used by many to share information and insights as to routes to circumvent congestion, and was fundamental in keeping the community informed.
Fire and ice training for SB County Fire
By Terri Hill
Last week San Bernardino County Firefighters completed their third day of Vent, Enter, Isolate, Search (VEIS) training at the old George Air Force Base. The property is now Southern California Logistics Airport, and besides housing companies in the aircraft mechanics business, and the “Boneyard” for out-of-service airplanes, the property is a prime location for the County Fire Departments to train. All shifts and personnel, including Phelan and Wrightwood, have completed the training.
New York City’s Fire Department (FDNY) conceived VEIS practice and it has been a common tactic used on the East Coast. The first concern for firefighters at the scene of a structure is the safety of the personnel and the occupants of the building involved. When there is a civilian located in a survivable area of the structure, VEIS techniques can mean the difference between life and death.
Controlling the door is the most important element of the system. Closing the door, by a victim or fire personnel, decreases the chances of toxic gases from entering the survivable space. A trapped occupant can secure the door before emergency workers arrive on the scene. Once the likelihood of a trapped occupant is confirmed, fire rescue personnel break a window (Vent) and Enter cautiously, sweeping for victims and checking the stability of the floor before they begin the Search. Also before searching, they Isolate the chamber by closing the door. This provides better conditions for the victim and the rescuer. Once isolated from other rooms involved in the fire, the chamber can be searched for survivors.
On Wednesday January 27, SBCo Fire host an Ice Rescue Training at Big Bear Lake. Again, all local departments were involved.
It is illegal to walk on the ice in Big Bear, as it is at Jackson Lake, but every winter authorities give citations and warnings, and emergency personnel rescue those who don’t heed the warnings, and tragically, lives are sometimes lost.In 2007, a Mom tried to rescue her two sons who had fallen through the ice at Jackson Lake, only to fall through as well. As Stated by SBCo Fire, “Due to fluctuating temperatures the high elevation lakes in Southern California do not freeze to a thickness that is safe to walk on. This is why there are signs posted to stay off the ice. It only takes a few minutes to become incapacitated due to hypothermia once you fall in.”
SBCo Fire has trained on is well prepared for rescues on the ice, however, the safest thing to do is to stay off the ice entirely. The fire department would like to remind the public that it is best to stick with the snow season activities in the local mountains, like snowboarding, skiing, and snowmobiling, as recreating on the frozen lake waters can have deadly consequences. SBCo Fire reminds the public to, “enjoy the snow responsibly.”
Last month the County Fire Crews trained on the snowcat, and at the end of February they’ll have their avalanche training excercises.
Serving Wrightwood, Phelan, Pinon HIlls and West Cajon Valley Since 1961