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Storm from Alaska dumps rain, snow on California

By The Associated Press

This article was published February 20, 2013 at 8:19 a.m.

— A winter storm brought California much-needed rain and even a rare tornado, but the breadth and severity of snowfall in much of the state caught drivers by surprise and left hundreds stranded on mountain highways.

A late barrage of snow forced the shutdown of a 60-mile stretch of Highway 58 between Los Angeles and Bakersfield late Tuesday, said California Highway Patrol Officer Ed Smith.

“Travel conditions deteriorated quickly,” Smith told KCAL-TV. “The freeways just aren’t safe to pass on right now.”

The snow brought hundreds of vehicles to a stop and sent the patrol and road crews scrambling to the scene, where they were helping drivers to slowly exit near Tehachapi. No injuries were reported.

The highway remained closed early Wednesday, and officials don’t know when it will reopen.

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