San Diegans spend Presidents Day playing in mountain snow

SAN DIEGO - San Diegans took advantage of their day off from work and school Monday by traveling to the mountains to play in the fresh snow.

California Highway Patrol and San Diego County Sheriff's Department officials reported an increase in traffic on state Route 79 Monday morning as people traveled to areas where snow had fallen since Sunday.

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Four inches of snow fell in lower-elevation areas such as Julian overnight, the National Weather Service reported.  Six to 12 inches were recorded at Mt. Laguna and Palomar Mountain.

The rain and snow from Sunday drew crowds to mountain communities and caused traffic nightmares and road closures in the evening.  By 4 p.m. Sunday, the Sheriff's substation in Julian asked visitors to stay out of the town due to "large crowds" and snowfall. 

A series of crashes on the road to Julian slowed traffic to a crawl by 6 p.m. A short time later, California Highway Patrol announced a portion of SR-79 -- from Mile Post Marker 7 south of Cuyamaca Lake to State Route 78 in Julian -- would be closed.

By 10:30 a.m. Monday, authorities announced SR-79 from Interstate 8 to state Route 78 had reopened and chains were no longer required.  Traffic maps showed an increase in traffic in those areas around noon.


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