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    I-5 Reopens After Being Closed For Nearly 24 Hours

    By By Katie Storbeck, Meteorologist
    January 05, 2011, 2:41:49 AM EST

    An unusual round of wintry weather affecting Southern California since Sunday will taper off into Monday night as drier weather moves into the region for the next couple of days.

    Heavy snows and gusty winds forced the California Highway Patrol to close a portion the Grapevine section of Interstate 5 for nearly 24 hours.

    As of Monday afternoon local time, the portion of the highway from Castaic to the Kern County line had just reopened and the California Highway Patrol began escorting cars across the Grapevine.

    The strong storm that brought the snow also produced gusty winds, which combined with the snow to create near white-out conditions at times. Winds roared to near 90 mph in the vicinity of the Grapevine.


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    The interstate was first closed just after noon local time Sunday, creating daunting delays and lengthy detours for holiday travelers heading home. After nearly a day, the highway has finally opened, however, it remains jammed with traffic and stranded vehicles at the present time.

    A storm system pressing inland over the southern portion of the state is the reason for the abnormally low snow levels. This storm has been slamming parts of California since New Year's Eve with drenching rain and heavy mountain snow.

    Cold air also engulfed much of the West last week, sending snow levels plummeting to below 2,000 feet in Southern California and setting the stage for the travel-stymieing snow.

    Numerous low temperature records have been broken since then, including several from Oregon to Arizona both Sunday and Monday mornings.


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    Luckily for residents of Southern California, snow and lower elevation rain showers are expected to taper off late Monday afternoon and evening, leading to a period of drier weather from Tuesday through the end of the upcoming week.

    Though drier weather is forecast for the region, temperatures are expected to remain several degrees below average through Wednesday before a slight moderating trend for the end of the week.

    However, colder weather is forecasted to return across a large portion of the nation over the next couple of weeks.

    Meteorologist Brian Edwards contributed to the content of this story.

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