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Snow Flurries In Santa Clarita Valley Possible After Next Storm System Arrives



5 Freeway Grapevine Snow (1)
Photo Courtesy of the CHP Fort Tejon Area Office

Snow flurries in parts of the Santa Clarita and Antelope Valleys are possible as another storm is predicted to hit the Southland.

National Weather Service (NWS) meteorologists are reporting a “brief lull” between storms Sunday morning with another system moving into Southern California in the afternoon. 

Snow accumulations across the Antelope Valley foothills could be between one to three inches near Highway 138 from Llano to Little Rock and Highway 138 west of the 14 Freeway towards Neenach to near Gorman.

The Santa Clarita Valley could see a dusting as well, according to the NWS.

Forecasters “would not be surprised” if portions of Santa Clarita Valley saw some snow flurries, especially around the foothills on Monday, according to the NWS.

Snow levels are expected to lower to 2000 feet and possibly down to 1500 feet, according to the weather service.

High winds are expected to affect portions of the Antelope Valley, a high wind watch is in effect Monday morning through the evening with gusts possibly exceeding 60 mph. 

The Los Angeles County Health Officer has issued a cold weather alert due to wind chill temperatures expected to be below freezing.

The weather alert is in effect for the Santa Clarita Valley from Monday, Jan.25 through Tuesday, Jan. 26, according to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.

In the Antelope Valley, the alert is in effect from Sunday through Thursday, Jan. 28.

“Children, the elderly, and people with disabilities or special medical needs are especially vulnerable during cold weather. Extra precaution should be taken to ensure they don’t get too cold when they are outside,” said Dr. Muntu Davis, Los Angeles County Health Officer in a statement. “There are places where people can go to stay warm, such as shelters or other public facilities. We also want to remind people not to use stoves, barbeques or ovens to heat their homes due to the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.”

Due to the predicted snow, the California Highway Patrol (CHP) Fort Tejon Area Office has implemented “Operation Snowflake” to prepare for a possible shut down of the 5 Freeway in the Grapevine. 

As of 10:30 a.m. Sunday, the I-5 remains open, with CHP officers monitoring road conditions. 


Vehicle Crashes Over Side Of 5 Freeway In Newhall Pass



CHP Vehicle California Highway Patrol (1)

A vehicle crashed about 30 feet over the side of the 5 Freeway onto The Old Road in the Newhall Pass Monday morning.

The crash was reported at about 10:50 a.m. Monday near The Old Road and Weldon Canyon Road in Newhall, according to officials with the Los Angeles County Fire Department.

Initial reports to the California Highway Patrol (CHP) indicated the vehicle landed on its roof after crashing down a hillside, according to CHP logs.

Two paramedic squads and ambulances were requested to the scene, according to fire officials.

The Santa Clarita Valley Search and Rescue team responded to the incident but were later canceled.

A total of two victims from one vehicle were transported to a local hospital in unknown condition, according to the department.

This is a breaking news story, more information will be added as it becomes available.

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Jackknifed Big Rig Prompts SigAlert Near Newhall Pass



5 Freeway Crash SigAlert
Photo Courtesy of Oscar Sol

A jackknifed big rig is leaking fuel Saturday afternoon, prompting a SigAlert in Sylmar near the Newhall Pass.

The crash was first reported at about 12:05 p.m. Saturday at the northbound 5 Freeway truck route near north of the 210 Freeway, according to Brian Humphrey, spokesperson for the Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD).

Upon arrival, firefighters reported a multi-vehicle collision in the truck lanes, involving a jackknifed big rig leaking diesel fuel from a punctured 100-gallon tractor tank, according to Humphrey.

LAFD personnel have stopped the leak and are working to contain the spill as of 12:30 p.m. Saturday.

The California Highway Patrol (CHP) has issued a SigAlert for the truck route transition from the westbound 210 Freeway to the northbound I-5, according to CHP logs.

All lanes of the transition are estimated to be closed for about one hour, according to the CHP.

Initial reports to the CHP indicated the collision involved three big rigs, including a tomato truck and a Freightliner.

No injuries have been reported in connection to the incident.

Photo Courtesy of Oscar Sol

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Los Angeles County COVID-19 Vaccination Efforts Could Extend Until 2022



COVID19 Vaccine Los Angeles County 2 (1)

Los Angeles County public health officials continued to urge patience Friday among residents anxious to get a COVID-19 vaccine, with the effort to vaccinate the population likely to extend “well into 2022.”

Despite leading the country in the number of overall administered vaccine doses, with 1.8 million being administered in the state as of Friday, California has ranked 48th in the country for vaccine doses administered per 100 people, according to Bloomberg’s COVID-19 Vaccine Tracker.

Residents of Los Angeles County eligible to receive the vaccine have been stifled by long wait times. Patients lined up to receive the vaccine at Dodger Stadium have reportedly waited up to five hours before receiving their dose.

Residents over the age of 65 are now able to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, as well as frontline healthcare workers and those employed by or living in long-term care facilities, such as nursing homes.

Dr. Paul Simon, chief science officer of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, urged residents to remain patient with efforts to administer vaccines, pointing to a shortage of doses on-hand and continued uncertainty about future allocations.

Simon noted that the county’s five large-scale vaccination sites that opened this week, including one at Six Flags Magic Mountain — each capable of administering 4,000 shots per day — are expected to be operating at much lower capacity next week. Public health officials estimate the number of vaccines given out is more likely in the 2,000 to 2,500 range.

The county expects to receive about 143,900 more doses of vaccine next week. However, since there are two doses of the medication needed, spaced three to four weeks apart, the bulk of the vaccine coming next week is expected to be used to administer second doses to those who have already received the first shot. Public Health Director Dr. Barbara Ferrer estimated earlier that only 37,900 of the doses coming next week will be available for people to receive their first dose.

Meanwhile, county health officials continued to note a leveling-off of new COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations, while warning that the improvements do not mean the region has emerged from the surge that began in November.

The daily number of COVID-19 deaths reported by the county remains elevated, with 256 deaths announced Friday. It was the third straight day the number topped 200, with 262 fatalities reported on Wednesday and Thursday. The new deaths elevated the countywide death toll since the pandemic began to 14,894.

The county also reported another 9,277 cases, lifting the cumulative total to 1,054,802. Health officials noted Thursday that the average daily number of new cases had dropped 30% over the past week. Most recent figures provided from the state showed 7,073 people hospitalized in the county, including 1,687 in intensive care. The current hospitalization number is a significant drop from the 8,000-plus patients that were reported in early January.

“We are also seeing a decline in hospitalizations and several other indicators we track, including test positivity rate, percentage of emergency department visits associated with COVID-19 and percentage of respiratory specimens positive for COVID at sentinel laboratory surveillance sites,” added Simon.

“However, despite these promising trends, I do want to emphasize that the numbers of cases, hospitalizations and deaths remain far too high,” Simon said. “So while there’s reason to be hopeful, we all must remain vigilant and continue to be disciplined, wearing masks, physically distancing when outside the home, avoiding gatherings and washing our hands frequently.”

Simon said Friday that the most recent figures showed that 441,140 doses of vaccine have already been administered in the county, although he said that number is likely much higher due to delays in tallying vaccination totals.

As of this week, the county had received about 853,000 total doses. Simon added that people should not look at those numbers and assume there are 400,000 unused doses in the county, noting again the lag in vaccination reports and the daily administration of doses. He also noted the need for much of the medication to be used as second doses for people who have already received the first shot.

If the county’s weekly allotment doesn’t dramatically improve beyond the current average of about 150,000, “the vaccination effort will likely extend well into 2022,” Simon said.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti made similar predictions during a briefing at Dodger Stadium Thursday. However, Garcetti also said that he is hopeful vaccine production and shipments to the county will increase.

Simon shared Garcetti’s optimism, saying, “We have a new federal administration that has pledged to make this happen. We are also hopeful that several other vaccine manufacturers will receive federal authorization for emergency use of their vaccines in the coming months, and that should help increase supplies to California and ultimately to Los Angeles County.”

The chief science officer said if the county can get its allocation increased to 500,000 per week, “We would have the potential to reach 75% of the adult population in the county, or 6 million adults, by mid-summer.”

Public health officials report the state is upgrading its vaccine-appointment website, to which the county system is linked, so it should operate more smoothly as early as next week. County residents trying to make appointments should use the county website here.

The county also has a call-in reservation system, which is available from 8 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. at 833-540-0473. But that line should be used only by people unable to use the website, since call volumes are already exceedingly high, Simon said.

Note: City News Service contributed to this report.

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