Major highways temporarily closed, final round at PebbleBeach canceled
The Associated Press, Feb. 17, 2009
LOS ANGELES - A winter storm blanketed California with heavy rain and snow on Monday, forcing the temporary closure of major highways and the cancellation of the final round of a national golf tournament.
The storm stretched from the Mexican border up to Oregon and Washington and was expected to last through Tuesday afternoon, said Stan Wasowski, a forecaster for the National Weather Service in San Diego. He said rain clouds extended several hundred miles off the Pacific coast.
"This one here is hitting the entire state," Wasowski said.
Heavy snow temporarily forced the closure of a 50-mile stretch of Interstate 5 in both directions in the mountains north of Los Angeles, and a section of Interstate 15 over the 4,190-foot CajonPass east of Los Angeles also was shut down.
Both highways, each a major artery for travelers, had been reopened Monday night, said Patrick Kimball, a California Highway Patrol officer.
Flash flood watch
In Northern California, a flood advisory was issued for the San FranciscoBay area and a flash flood watch was in effect for much of California's central coast, where flooded greens forced the cancellation of the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am's final round.
The PGA Tour declared Dustin Johnson the winner after he built a four-shot lead on Saturday, before the rain began.
In the San Diego area, firefighters made rescues after flood waters overtook two vehicles just before . No injuries were reported in either incident.
Rain brought renewed fears of mudslides in areas ravaged by wildfires last year. The eastern Los AngelesCounty city of Sierra Madre has warned residents they may need to leave their homes, and a voluntary evacuation order was in effect early Monday.
Up to 7 feet of snow had fallen in the Sierra Nevada over the past week, and more was expected by early Tuesday. Tire chains were needed to navigate steep mountain passes, but the weather was a boon for Lake Tahoe resorts, where skiers and snowboarders were enjoying heaps of fresh powder.
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