YREKA, Cali. – A huge stretch alongside I-5 flooded with cars, going nowhere after Cal Trans shut down the interstate southbound in Yreka. Many were still stuck in Yreka Wednesday afternoon wondering when they’ll ever get to their destination.
“There’s nothing you really can do cause you’re just waiting, waiting in limbo,” said Jozef Namoa who has driven a truck for 4 years.
He’s used to hazardous winter conditions in places like Wyoming, but he didn’t suspect he’d get caught on I-5 Wednesday in Siskiyou Co. as he made his way to Southern California.
“Sometimes you get stuck out there for 3 days, it’s pretty crazy,” said Namoa.
Namoa is playing it safe waiting it out until the roads are clear.
However, California Highway Patrol Officer Greg Perkins said many drivers tried to beat the storm Tuesday night. Most ended up getting stranded overnight.
“I went and personally contacted every passenger, vehicle stuck. I walked a little over a mile stretch. I estimate 3 to 400 cars,” said Officer Perkins.
He estimates some drivers were stuck in their cars for 15 hours. Relying on little food, water, and warmth.
“Those vehicles then became stuck where they didn’t have chains or they were stuck in large snow berms. Some of the snow berms because of the wind were about waist high,” said Officer Perkins.
He said there were more accidents than his agency could count, including rolled over semis and all-wheel-drive trucks
“It was windy, we had real sustained winds out of the south that just kept blowing snow and kept blowing out all the loose snow towards the cars,” said Officer Perkins.
He says preparedness is key, which many drivers lacked Tuesday night. Fortunately, he says there were no fatalities that his agency is aware of.
For drivers hitting the road in these winter conditions, CHP said to make sure to pack extra water, food, and blankets. Don’t forget to check Quick Map in California and Trip Check in Oregon before you hit the road.