Big Bear City, July 5, 2014 12:09 p.m. – Not to be outdone by fireworks displays, Mother Nature put on a show of her own Saturday morning, with earthquakes, rock slides and floods.
A cluster of earthquakes ranging from 2.7 to 4.6 hit west-northwest of Big Bear Lake at approximately 10 a.m. Rocks and boulders that are always unstable on the slopes along Highway 18 west of Bear Valley Dam were further loosened by Friday’s rain, and then plummeted to the highway with this morning’s quakes. CHP closed the highway in both directions at about 10:23 a.m.–upbound at Snow Valley and downbound at the dam–escorting out vehicles in the area. The worst slides were reported a mile north of Snow Valley, but slides hit Fawnskin’s Rim of the World Drive too. Plows began removing the debris in the 11:00 hour, with an estimated two hours of work to complete before the highway was passable.
Highway 38 remained open to traffic, but at least one vehicle was reporting as having its bottom “completely destroyed” after hitting a boulder on the road.
Highway 18 to Lucerne Valley looked to be the route least effected by slides, but motorists using it to exit Big Bear are being advised to avoid the connecting Highway 247, which was washed out and closed north of Yucca Valley Saturday morning.
The National Weather Service has issued a Flash Flood Watch for local mountains and deserts through 8 p.m. Saturday. DO NOT drive your vehicle into water covering the roadway. The water depth may be too great to allow your car to cross safely.