We hope you are enjoying this warm, sunny New Year’s Day. It’s hard to imagine that just a few days ago, hazardous snowy conditions forced the closure of the Grapevine section of the 5 Freeway north of Los Angeles.
We heard how one neighbor got caught in these dangerous conditions, but fortunately made it home safely. Thanks to Deanie Nyman, photographer and former Hancock Park resident, who now lives downtown, for sharing her story with us. Nyman spent Christmas in the Bay Area and headed home to LA on Friday.
“I had work to do, so I left San Francisco at 7:30 a.m. yesterday morning expecting to be home six — or maybe seven with traffic — hours later. Fourteen hours, later I walked in my door. Closed freeways. Snow. Rain. Stopped and trapped for three hours on the freeway to the Tejon pass until they cleared some “incident.”
Best of all, midway through, without any way out, my windshield wipers broke. I made it home by following taillights over the pass for two hours, trying not to be blinded by the water on my windshield glowing in oncoming headlights, or entirely lost in the whiteout at the top of the pass. It’s great to be alive and I’m grateful I didn’t kill anyone.
We live with such dependable good weather — this was a travel reminder to keep watch for that rare day of hell. Christmas, though… was fantastic! I hope yours was too,” wrote Nyman on her Facebook page.
Nyman gave us permission to share her story noting, “it may be a good reminder for people to check the weather before setting off. I was so set on leaving early I didn’t think to check the weather — big mistake.”
Caltrans had re-opened the freeway in both directions with CHP officers leading cars through the pass.
Despite being a photographer, Nyman didn’t take any photos.
“I was just thinking about surviving. And it was raining and snowing, there was nothing to photograph. I bet it was beautiful the next day though,” said Nyman.
Yes, it was. By coincidence, we drove through the Grapevine the next day, and took these photos.