Weather update: Warming trend begins, but freeways remain closed

Southern California will get a break from the wet weather today as a slight warming trend begins after a rain and snow storm pounded northern Los Angeles County, shutting off the Antelope Valley from the rest of the region and stranding thousands of motorists.

Temperatures will climb from the upper 50s to the mid-60s today with overnight lows in the mid-40s, meteorologist Steward Seto said.

A slight chance of showers are expected for next week, he said.

Interstate 5, Interstate 15 and the 14 Freeway remain closed this morning and it is unclear when they will be re-opened, officials said.

"We're hoping that the sun is going to come out and help with the road, but that's no guarantee," said Officer Anthony Martin of the California Highway Patrol. "There's still a lot of work to do with the plows, so right now the 5 and 14 are closed indefinitely."

Dozens of big rigs were parked on the shoulder of northbound Interstate 5 near the 14 Freeway interchange early today.

Trucker Bill Privette, 44, who was hauling plastic crates, said he parked his big rig about 6 p.m. Wednesday after he learned that the highway was closed.

He said he spent the night in a sleeping bag in his cab, dining on a ham sandwich and potato chips.

At the Castaic Truck Stop, stranded truckers were huddled around the big screen TV, waiting for news when the highway will reopen, said manager Mark Karat.

"They've been stopped here for more than 24 hours and they just want to go home, they just want to see their families and they need to move to make money," Karat said. "You can't make money if you're not moving. So that's how everyone feels here. It can be frustrating for them."

Metrolink commuter trains were running late from Lancaster to Los Angeles this morning, with some trains canceled because crews ended their shifts so late last night, said spokesman Francisco Oaxaca.

"Our crews need a certain amount of rest before they can get back out there and work again; it's a federal law," Oaxaca said. "But that's also meant a lot of the crews can't legally start at the same time today they normally would because they need that rest to make up for yesterday."

Meanwhile, Interstate 15 won't reopen for at least a few hours as authorities try to remove semi trucks stuck on the ice-covered roadway.

"The major task at hand is trying to get these big rigs loose," said Officer Randy Grenwalt of the California Highway Patrol. "There are only so many tow trucks for tractor-trailers and we have every tow truck we can get out there working on it."

The highway is closed in both directions from Oak Hill Road to Interstate 215, Grenwalt said.

The popular route for motorists traveling to Las Vegas is also closed from the town of Baker to the Nevada border, he said.

Frost advisories have been issued for the Riverside County valleys and deserts 10 p.m. tonight through 10 a.m. Friday, according to NWS.

-- Ruben Vives and Nathan Olviarez-Giles

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