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Many remain stranded in San Bernardino Mountains as snow blocks roads, threatens roofs

Many residents were trapped in their homes in the San Bernardino Mountains on Wednesday as crews worked to clear roads made nearly impassable by the snow that has blanketed the area in recent days, leading to at least one report of a collapsed roof.

Crews from the California Department of Transportation planned to escort residents to mountain highways that have been closed since Friday, but those plans were shelved Wednesday morning as drivers remained trapped in the snow even with chains attached to their tires.

Road workers are rushing to clear the highways for residents of the Lake Arrowhead, Crestline and Running Springs communities, county officials said.

“We understand the nature of this emergency and how it affects our residents,” San Bernardino County Supervisor Dawn Rowe said at a news conference Wednesday. “We know we have stranded residents. Our number one priority is to reach those residents so they can have the safe environment we hope to provide.”

Lake Arrowhead has received 2.5 feet of snow in the past 48 hours, according to the National Weather Service, and the surrounding area has seen more than 6 feet of snow in the past week.

Goodwin’s Market in Crestline was closed Wednesday after extra snowfall overnight caused part of its roof to collapse.

“We know that many of you are counting on us and we will do everything we can to open as soon as possible.” said the market in a Facebook post.

Rowe acknowledged that the risk to buildings was also a concern for the county heading into its sixth day of snow.

Mountains of snow reach the roofs of mountain communities and have made it nearly impossible for people to drive on the roads or walk on foot.

“We hear you. We know you’re concerned and we know that’s changing with the extra snow that fell last night,” said Rowe.

Snowplows are expected to clear the roads for the next week, Rowe said.

Some residents posted videos to social media of their travels onto the mountain highways with Caltrans escorts before being put on hiatus.

Many more are trapped in their homes.

Brooke Cutler and her family spent most of Tuesday digging in the snow near their Lake Arrowhead home.

A team had cleared the paved and unpaved roads in her neighborhood during the night. There were large piles of snow outside her house, but by the time Cutler and her family had dug their way out, the roads were covered in snow again.

The plows “had just arrived on the neighborhood roads and cleaned them up nicely,” Cutler said. “We had to scoop out our cars, and by the time we got them out, it was dark and snowing again.”

Cutler figured that if a few inches fell overnight, she could dig herself out with her family in the morning.

“It ended up being 1 to 2 feet. So we’re stuck again,” Cutler said. “We imagine that the teams will start again on the bike to clear the other roads.”