Local News

Monday, Aug 19 2013 08:43 PM

Highways serving Bakersfield shut, then one reopens

  1. 1 of 5

    By Henry A. Barrios / The Californian

    A rock slide closed Highway 178 in the canyon Monday evening. Several people with their vehicles are stuck between two slides, according to a Kern County Sheriff's Office deputy. There do not appear to be any injuries.

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  2. 2 of 5

    By Henry A. Barrios / The Californian

    A large boulder rests on the eastbound lane of Highway 178 in the canyon on Monday. Other rock slides have closed the highway until the rocks are cleared.

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  3. 3 of 5

    By Henry A. Barrios / The Californian

    Several people wait outside their vehicles where they are stuck between two rock slides on Highway 178 in the canyon Monday afternoon.

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  4. 4 of 5

    By Henry A. Barrios / The Californian

    A CHP vehicle blocks the westbound lane of Highway 178 in the canyon due to rock slides on Monday.

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  5. 5 of 5

    By Felix Adamo/ TheCalifornian

    With clouds hovering overhead, the sun disappears in a wall of dust northwest of Seventh Standard Road.

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By THE BAKERSFIELD CALIFORNIAN

Two major arteries out of Bakersfield were closed Monday night because of weather-related events. By Tuesday morning, HIghway 178 remained closed while Highway 58 reopened.

The Kern County Fire Department said Monday evening that heavy rains had caused a rock and mud slide that closed Highway 178 in both directions.

Near Tehachapi, part of Highway 58 also was closed around 6 p.m. A collision between at least two tractor-trailer vehicles near the Dennison Road overpass closed the eastbound lanes of Highway 58. As of 8 p.m., eastbound traffic was still being diverted off of the highway at Tucker Road and rerouted down Tehachapi Boulevard around the scene of the accident, leading to increased traffic and delays.

The California Highway Patrol said the accident was the result of decreased visibility due to weather conditions. No injuries were immediately reported.

Unsettled weather spread across the region Monday, with strong winds blowing dust and smoke. Fires burning around Lake Isabella produced smoky air over Kern County.

No further details on the Highway 178 closure were immediately available.

The National Weather Service in Hanford issued a flash flood warning for areas along the Kern River Canyon at about 5:30 p.m.

Earlier Monday the CHP reported that severe weather, including heavy rain, lighting and hail, had hit the Antelope Valley area.

Elsewhere, a chain of thunderstorms brought periods of heavy rain and flooding to the high desert. A mudslide swept a car off a road near Ridgecrest and lightning struck a fire station but no injuries were reported. Numerous palm trees and power poles were knocked down, Kern County Fire Engineer Leland Davis said.

Southern California Edison reported power outages caused by lightning strikes stretching from Tulare County to San Bernardino County. The utility could not provide a total tally of outages, but said Tulare County was most affected with some 4,100 customers without electricity.

A chance of thunderstorms, with lightning, erratic winds and locally heavy rain, remained as a low-pressure system off the Central Coast brought monsoonal moisture into the region, the National Weather Service said.

More traffic problems were in effect around Yosemite, the Associated Press reported.

Officials said a wildfire forced the shutdown of a highway that serves as a busy gateway to Yosemite National Park.

The U.S. Forest Service said in a statement that two days after it broke out in the Stanislaus National Forest, the blaze crossed State Route 120 on Monday, shutting it down in both directions.

No westbound traffic was being allowed out of Yosemite, and people trying to get in were being told to use State Route 140 and State Route 41.

The Forest Service said some camps in the area were being evacuated and some structures had been lost, but did not say how many or what the structures were.

The blaze has burned some 800 acres since it broke out on Saturday.

Kern County Fire Monday morning responded to several lightning related fires along the eastern mountains. Crews' efforts were being challenged by strong winds.

The Shirley Fire was burning about two miles west of the Shirley Peak Ski Resort. It was burning in heavy timber, the fire department reported.

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