Local News

Sunday, Dec 08 2013 05:06 PM

Snow and cold a joy for kids, misery for growers

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    By Henry A. Barrios/ The Californian

    Mario Ortega from the San Fernando Valley has a snowball fight with a friend during a trip Sunday to an area near Pine Mountain Club.

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    By Henry A. Barrios / The Californian

    Julius Tabion tows his children and their friends down an incline in the snow near Pine Mountain Club during a family trip Sunday. They are from Delano and for some of the children it was their first time in the snow.

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    By Henry A. Barrios / The Californian

    Jose Munoz pulls his children and some of their friends across the snow during a family day Sunday near Pine Mountain Club. The family is from Delano.

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    By Henry A. Barrios/ The Californian

    Jacquie Mejia of Los Angeles appears to enjoy her time in the snow Sunday near Pine Mountain Club.

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BY STEVE LEVIN Californian staff writer slevin@bakersfield.com

In the snow-covered forested hills Sunday near Pine Mountain Club, the screams were ones of joy from children sledding.

In the flats of the San Joaquin Valley any screams were likely ones of distress from citrus farmers whose $620 million crop is at risk from several days of below-freezing temperatures.

Those lows will continue through Tuesday night and into Wednesday morning, according to the National Weather Service, which maintained its "hard freeze warning" for most of the Valley, including part of Kern County.

No precipitation is forecast.

"The good news is, there is an end to this thing," said Jim Dudley, an NWS meteorologist at the Hanford office.

"The bad news is, we've got to get through (Sunday) night, Monday night and Tuesday night first."

Kern County's Fruit and Vegetables Standardization Program will send inspectors out Monday to take citrus cuttings to determine the extent of damage to the crop.

In the meantime, lows Monday and Tuesday in the Bakersfield area are predicted to be about 26 degrees. The coldest portion of the county is expected to be in Buttonwillow, with lows at 19 or 20 degrees.

Dudley said the low temperatures are being caused by a flow of arctic air from Canada that dipped south and stayed there. It will move off to the east by Wednesday, when lows will stabilize at several degrees above freezing.

Snowfall accumulation Saturday ranged from 6 inches reported at the Mountain Valley Airport in Tehachapi, to 4 inches at Bear Valley Springs, 2 inches at Pine Mountain Club and less than 1 inch at Frazier Park.

The weather also spawned high winds, with the weather service reporting 76 mph gusts at Inyokern Airport and a 99 mph gust through Indian Wells Canyon.

Highway 58 through the Tehachapi Pass was closed at 3:30 a.m. Sunday because of icy conditions. Six hours later the California Highway Patrol began escorting traffic along both the east and westbound lanes from about six miles east of the junction with Highway 184 near Bakersfield to one mile west of Mojave.

The icy roads forced Tehachapi public schools to close Monday.

Any snow was good news to Gina and Dickerson Correa of Delano, who along with their friends Reyna and Julius Tabion, and Jose and Gladys Munoz, and the group's six children spent Sunday morning sledding through the woods at the Mt. Pinos turnoff on the Frazier Mountain Highway.

They arrived at 10 a.m. from Delano, shortly before scores of other erstwhile sledders and snow bunnies from Los Angeles and San Fernando Valley environs joined them and turned the soft white woods into slick muddy runs.

"We heard the weather report and we decided there's snow up there so we're going to try it," said Dickerson Correa. "We're going to go until we're kaput."

Michelle Eden and her daughters, Chelsea, 9, and Elisa, 4, joined about a dozen friends from Sylmar who made a last-minute decision to play in the snow.

Since they didn't bring sleds, the kids in the group spent their time throwing snowballs at each other, but aimed several accurate tosses at adults, too.

"I like it. I like how you can play with" the snow, said Chelsea, who admitted hitting her mother once with a snowball.

"Lots of times," her mother corrected.

 

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