Support for LAist comes from
We Explain L.A.
Stay Connected

Share This

Climate and Environment

Stranded In San Bernardino Mountains For More Than A Week, Residents Are Eager For Relief

An open door is blocked by several feet of snow.
Marcia Woloshun has been stuck at her house in Running Springs where she has huddled in a tent at times to stay warm.
(Courtesy Marcia Woloshun)
We need to hear from you.
Today, put a dollar value on the trustworthy reporting you rely on all year long. The local news you read here every day is crafted for you, but right now, we need your help to keep it going. In these uncertain times, your support is even more important. We can't hold those in power accountable and uplift voices from the community without your partnership. Thank you.

Some residents are worried for their horses, while others were hunkered down in tents pitched in their own homes — trying to stay warm in indoor temperatures in the 40s and with sporadic power outages.

More than a week into icy, snowy conditions, San Bernardino County mountain communities were beyond being ready for relief.

"I've lived here 22 years, but I've never seen this much snow," said Lynda Derepentigny, 78, who lives right off of Highway 138 in Crestline.

Support for LAist comes from

The snowfall has been massive.

An aerial view shows big banks of snow and plowed, but still snowy roads. People on foot can be seen walking near emergency vehicles.
A view from a San Bernardino County sheriff's helicopter Thursday.
(Courtesy San Bernardino County Sheriff's Dept.)

Caltrans said crews had removed 7,276,231 cubic yards of snow from roads in the San Bernardino Mountains as of Wednesday.

Relief for stranded mountain residents was on its way Thursday. The California National Guard was deployed following Gov. Gavin Newsom's declaration of a state of emergency in 13 counties, including San Bernardino.

The guard was prepping helicopters Thursday morning at Joint Forces Training Base in Los Alamitos to head up to the mountains to assist residents, some of whom have been without power for days and unable to leave their snowed-in homes.

Authorities were also able to open up travel Thursday mid-morning on State Route 18 from Big Bear to Lucerne Valley — for residents only. Highways 18 and 330 remained closed early Thursday afternoon above San Bernardino.

Calls for help

Some residents were getting increasingly desperate for help, unable to get medicine and supplies. Derepentigny said she and her 12 horses have been trapped since the first storm last weekend.

Support for LAist comes from

"I am down to two bales of hay and I'm gonna be scraping the barn floor to feed them because there's no way I can go down the hill or even get to the main street to get out of here," she told LAist.

A dog wearing a dog jacket looks down a dug-out pathway with high banks of snow on either side. It's sunny. Two shovels are dug into the snow on the left side of the trail.
Crestline resident Lynda Derepentigny had to shovel a narrow path. She remains stuck at her home.
(Courtesy Lynda Derepentigny)

She said several carports in the trailer park next to her had collapsed, as had the roof of the only market in town.

Marcia Woloshun, who lives alone in Running Springs, said she considered herself lucky that her power had only gone out for about 16 hours on Wednesday. She said she set up a tent in her living room for a few hours yesterday, thinking she's stay warmer in a smaller space.

"It kind of kept me a little warmer," Woloshun said. Still, she said, her house was 49 degrees inside. Her power went out again Thursday afternoon toward the end of a phone interview with LAist.

An open door is blocked by several feet of snow.
Marcia Woloshun has been stuck at her house in Running Springs.
(Courtesy Marcia Woloshun)

Woloshun said she worried about older neighbors and others who weren't as well-stocked for the storm as she was. As it is, though, she said the isolation was taxing her mental health.

A pile of deep snow with what look like windshield wipers sticking up through it. The driver's side mirror is visible sticking out of the snow pile. There's a snow-covered angled rooftop in the background.
"My car is under here," Marcia Woloshun, a Running Springs resident, texted LAist in reference to the photo.
(Courtesy Marcia Woloshun)

"It's a lot for for us to all handle," said Woloshun, who normally commutes to work as a nurse in Redlands but hasn't been able to since the storm hit last weekend. "You think you see the light at the end of the tunnel and then something happens, like your power goes off."

Woloshun said she had made multiple efforts over the past week to dig out her car from under a massive pile of snow — in hopes of being able to drive down the mountain to stay with her parents — only to have it quickly re-covered by new snow.

"One day, I went out and I shoveled for four-and-a-half, five hours. And then it snowed. And it was like, 'Oh, it doesn't even look like I did anything.'"

About the emergency declaration

San Bernardino County residents have been under a state of emergency since Monday evening, as the rush of snow from the winter storm has left some people in mountain communities stranded or even snowed in.

The declaration calls for state and federal support to help clear mountain highways and neighboring streets from snow, as well as to provide any other resources.

Before and after: the view from space

The area has seen a dramatic influx of snow, visible in these NASA images released Monday. These are shots, from space, of Southern California from Feb. 10 and Feb. 26.

An animation shows the massive rise in snowfall over Southern California going from largely brown to big swaths of white.
(Pictures courtesy NASA)

Here are the resources available

  • An emergency shelter has been set up at Redlands East Valley High School. Resources are available daily from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. and the American Red Cross Southern California is providing meals.
  • Residents can also reach out to a call center at 909-387-3911 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. for more information.
  • If you are over the age of 65 and unable to plow your driveway, you can call the Senior Assistance Center at 800-510-2020 for a list of contractors. Other local groups like the Rotary, Lions Club and Kiwanis will provide you with assistance.

FAQ on snow removal

FAQ's on Snow Removal
  • Here's some information on the county's snow removal process as provided by the county.

    • Crews begin plowing when there is 2 inches or more of snow on primary roads
    • Primary roads such as Lake Gregory Road, Grass Valley Road, Live Oak Road, Green Valley Lake Road, Maple Lane and Valley of the Falls are plowed first, followed by secondary roads, which connect the local roads to the primary roads, then lastly the local roads, such as the ones you may live on.
    • Cinders are placed on primary roads and in school areas where the California Highway Patrol advises to do so.
    • In case of emergency and if you think local rescue vehicles will come your way, call 911 or the local police immediately. 
  • If your property is damaged during snow removal or cinder spreading operations, it will be in your best interest to obtain as much of the following information as possible:

    1. Note the date of the occurrence, time, address and any other information that you can.
    2. Get a description of the vehicle (blower, blade or bucket), the color of the vehicle, vehicle number and any emblems or insignias.
    3. Take pictures of damage if possible.
  • After obtaining this information, you should call the Road Yard Supervisor in your area and explain the damage to them.

  • If the damage was caused by County equipment, file a “Claim Against the County” form with the Risk Management Division, within six months of the occurrence. A claim form may be obtained by calling the Radio Room at (909) 387-8063.Be sure and include copies of written estimates of damage and photographs, if possible. Mail to Risk Management, 222 West Hospitality Lane, Third Floor, San Bernardino, CA 92415-0016, (909) 386-8631.Be sure to check with your yard supervisor first before filing a claim against the County.

What's next

We'll keep updating this report as more information becomes available.

What questions do you have about the weather we're experiencing?
A massive winter storm is hitting Southern California. We're here to answer your questions.

Phoenix Tso and Jacob Margolis contributed to this story.

Most Read