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I-15 Closed Between Las Vegas & California, Hundreds Stranded Due To Winter Weather

Drivers experienced huge delays between Nevada and California on Boxing Day. (Sydney Reyes)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Hundreds traveling to and from Utah were stuck after severe winter weather shut down Interstate 15 between Las Vegas and Southern California.

While many dreamed of a white Christmas, the scene near the Cajon Pass in California Thursday was not a winter wonderland. Almost 200 slides-offs and stuck vehicles closed both directions of Interstate 15 for most of the day.

“It was probably two hours that we were stuck, and I don’t think we moved more than like a quarter-mile,” said Stephanie Crandall. “I expect that kind of weather in Utah, but not sunny California.”

Crandall and her three kids were trying to get to Lehi but barely made it outside San Bernardino before the massive backups started.

“I just had to turn around and get through all the cars and just figure out what do,” she said. “We just couldn’t move.”

The Crandalls decided to wait it out at a Taco Bell and hope the route cleared soon.

“I have a feeling this is a going to be a very long day,” she said with a sigh.

Near the Nevada-California state line, traffic was at a standstill as heavy rain and snow slowly moved through. Authorities there advised travelers to just stay in Las Vegas for the night.

“We ended up going on this freeway that basically takes you out towards the Mojave Desert,” said Nathan Reyes describing his route as he tried to get home to Sandy.

Reyes got lucky and heard about the mess before he started the drive and was able to make other plans.

“We basically bypassed the Cajon Pass by making a big loop all the way around,” he said.

He and his wife, Sydney, were grateful they were able to find another way instead of getting stuck like thousands of other drivers in the blizzard-like conditions.

“Now, we’re just trying to make it back to Utah in time,” Sydney Reyes said. “We have work tomorrow and we’re not even out of California yet.”

Late Thursday afternoon, both northbound and southbound I-15 reopened for a short time. However, conditions were still icy and slow going and California Department of Transportation officials closed I-15 in both directions at 5 p.m. MST.

Authorities recommended drivers delay their travel until Friday, if possible, or process with extreme caution.

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