A cold and blustery winter storm unleashed downpours and extensive snowfall on Southern California, triggering a tornado and snarling post-Christmas travel on major routes Thursday.

Snow shut down vital Interstate 5 in Tejon Pass through the mountains north of Los Angeles and stopped traffic on Interstate 15 over Cajon Pass in the inland region to the east. I-15 finally reopened in both directions in the afternoon but then authorities later shut down about 45 miles (73 km) of the freeway from Baker, California, to Primm, Nevada, on the way to Las Vegas because of snow and ice.

Traffic on the northbound side of the I-5 freeway is diverted off at Parker road in Castaic, Calif., as snow on the Grapevine has made the road impassable Thursday, December 26, 2019. The CHP had no estimate as to when the freeway would re-open. (David Crane/The Orange County Register via AP)
Traffic on the northbound side of the I-5 freeway is diverted off at Parker road in Castaic, Calif., as snow on the Grapevine has made the road impassable Thursday, December 26, 2019. The CHP had no estimate as to when the freeway would re-open. (David Crane/The Orange County Register via AP)

A truck driver was found unresponsive in a rig stopped along I-5 in Tejon Pass. Kern County firefighters pronounced him dead, according to the California Highway Patrol’s online incident log.

It was not immediately known if the death was weather-related.

All I-5 freeway ramps were closed in Castaic, Calif., as snow on the Grapevine made the road impossible to pass Thursday, December 26, 2019. The CHP had no estimate as to when the freeway would re-open. (David Crane/The Orange County Register via AP)
All I-5 freeway ramps were closed in Castaic, Calif., as snow on the Grapevine made the road impossible to pass Thursday, December 26, 2019. The CHP had no estimate as to when the freeway would re-open. (David Crane/The Orange County Register via AP)

After being stuck for five hours in Cajon Pass, motorist Johnny Lim wasn’t sure he could reach Las Vegas, where he hoped to spend time after Christmas. He worried about driving his car through the pass when it reopens.

“The freeway is full of snow and ice,” he said, adding that his car “is not built for conditions like this.”

I-5 rises to more than 4,100 feet (1,250 meters) in Tejon Pass between Los Angeles and the San Joaquin Valley. Cajon Pass rises to more than 3,700 feet (1,128 meters) between the San Gabriel and San Bernardino Mountains on I-15, the major connector between Southern California and Las Vegas.

Plows covered with snow return to Castaic, Calif., as snow on the Grapevine closed the freeway Thursday, December 26, 2019. The CHP had no estimate as to when the freeway would re-open.  (David Crane/The Orange County Register via AP)
Plows covered with snow return to Castaic, Calif., as snow on the Grapevine closed the freeway Thursday, December 26, 2019. The CHP had no estimate as to when the freeway would re-open. (David Crane/The Orange County Register via AP)

Snow also stopped or slowed traffic on other California roads, including heavily traveled Interstate 8 in eastern San Diego County, and numerous trees were toppled.

In San Diego County, a 60-year-old woman died Thursday when a car veered off a snowy road near Warner Springs and crashed into an embankment. The woman passenger wasn’t wearing a seatbelt and the driver was going too fast to control the car, California Highway Patrol Officer Jeff Christy told KSWB-TV.

On Wednesday night, a small tornado briefly hopped across Ventura Harbor, the National Weather Service reported. Gusts downed five trees, according to the Ventura County Star. Winds up to 65 to 85 mph (105 kph to 137 kph) also caused minor damage to nearby buildings, forecasters said.

Workers remove a tree that fell across Burbank Blvd. at Canoga Ave. in Woodland Hills, Calif., following a night of steady rain, on Thursday, December 26, 2019. (Dean Musgrove/The Orange County Register via AP)
Workers remove a tree that fell across Burbank Blvd. at Canoga Ave. in Woodland Hills, Calif., following a night of steady rain, on Thursday, December 26, 2019. (Dean Musgrove/The Orange County Register via AP)

Localized flooding inundated roads and freeway lanes while snow fell to low elevations, leading to numerous traffic accidents.

The town of Wrightwood at the eastern end of the San Gabriel Mountains had received 25 inches (63.5 centimeters) of snow by midday.

Famed Palomar Observatory in the San Diego County mountains said it would be closed at least through the weekend because of heavy snowfall.

Workers remove a tree that fell across Burbank Blvd. at Canoga Ave. in Woodland Hills, Calif., following a night of steady rain, on Thursday, December 26, 2019. (Photo by Dean Musgrove, Los Angeles Daily News)/The Orange County Register via AP)
Workers remove a tree that fell across Burbank Blvd. at Canoga Ave. in Woodland Hills, Calif., following a night of steady rain, on Thursday, December 26, 2019. (Photo by Dean Musgrove, Los Angeles Daily News)/The Orange County Register via AP)
Workers remove a tree that fell across Burbank Blvd. at Canoga Ave. in Woodland Hills, Calif., following a night of steady rain, on Thursday, December 26, 2019. (Dean Musgrove/The Orange County Register via AP)
Workers remove a tree that fell across Burbank Blvd. at Canoga Ave. in Woodland Hills, Calif., following a night of steady rain, on Thursday, December 26, 2019. (Dean Musgrove/The Orange County Register via AP)
This photo provided by Johnny Lim shows a snow covered northbound I-15 in the Cajon Pass between the San Bernardino Mountains and the San Gabriel Mountains in Southern California on Thursday, Dec. 26, 2019. Lim, of Corona, said he's been stuck in his vehicle for about five hours on his way to Las Vegas. A powerful winter storm brought a deluge of rain and snow to Southern California, triggering tornado warnings and bringing post-Christmas travel to a halt on major routes. (Johnny Lim via AP)
This photo provided by Johnny Lim shows a snow covered northbound I-15 in the Cajon Pass between the San Bernardino Mountains and the San Gabriel Mountains in Southern California on Thursday, Dec. 26, 2019. Lim, of Corona, said he’s been stuck in his vehicle for about five hours on his way to Las Vegas. A powerful winter storm brought a deluge of rain and snow to Southern California, triggering tornado warnings and bringing post-Christmas travel to a halt on major routes. (Johnny Lim via AP)
Morning commuters drive with the hills in the background in the Sun Valley section of Los Angeles on Thursday, Dec. 26, 2019. A powerful winter storm brought a deluge of rain and snow to Southern California, triggering tornado warnings and bringing post-Christmas travel to a halt on major routes. (AP Photo/Richard Vogel)
Morning commuters drive with the hills in the background in the Sun Valley section of Los Angeles on Thursday, Dec. 26, 2019. A powerful winter storm brought a deluge of rain and snow to Southern California, triggering tornado warnings and bringing post-Christmas travel to a halt on major routes. (AP Photo/Richard Vogel)
A powerful winter storm brought a deluge of rain and snow to Southern California, triggering tornado warnings and bringing post-Christmas travel to a halt on major routes early Thursday. (Dec. 26)
A powerful winter storm brought a deluge of rain and snow to Southern California, triggering tornado warnings and bringing post-Christmas travel to a halt on major routes early Thursday. (Dec. 26)
Heavy storm clouds are reflected in a window over Los Angeles City Hall, left, while Chinese tourists take photos along a walkway at the Walt Disney Concert Hall on Thursday, Dec. 26, 2019. A cold and blustery winter storm unleashed a deluge of rain and snow on Southern California, triggering tornado warnings and snarling post-Christmas travel on major routes. (AP Photo/Richard Vogel)
Heavy storm clouds are reflected in a window over Los Angeles City Hall, left, while Chinese tourists take photos along a walkway at the Walt Disney Concert Hall on Thursday, Dec. 26, 2019. A cold and blustery winter storm unleashed a deluge of rain and snow on Southern California, triggering tornado warnings and snarling post-Christmas travel on major routes. (AP Photo/Richard Vogel)
In this photo provided by Big Bear Mountain Resort, snowboard and ski enthusiasts ride a lift to the slopes at Big Bear Mountain Resort in Big Bear, Calif., Monday, Dec. 23, 2019. Winter weather advisories are in effect for the interior mountains of Los Angeles and Ventura counties, where a foot more of snow is expected at elevations above 7,000 feet and lesser amounts down to 5,000 feet. (Jared Meyer/Big Bear Mountain Resort via AP)
In this photo provided by Big Bear Mountain Resort, snowboard and ski enthusiasts ride a lift to the slopes at Big Bear Mountain Resort in Big Bear, Calif., Monday, Dec. 23, 2019. Winter weather advisories are in effect for the interior mountains of Los Angeles and Ventura counties, where a foot more of snow is expected at elevations above 7,000 feet and lesser amounts down to 5,000 feet. (Jared Meyer/Big Bear Mountain Resort via AP)
In this photo provided by Big Bear Mountain Resort, snowboarders head to the slopes at Big Bear Mountain Resort in Big Bear, Calif., on Monday, Dec. 23, 2019. Winter weather advisories are in effect for the interior mountains of Los Angeles and Ventura counties, where a foot more of snow is expected at elevations above 7,000 feet and lesser amounts down to 5,000 feet. (Jared Meyer/Big Bear Mountain Resort via AP)
In this photo provided by Big Bear Mountain Resort, snowboarders head to the slopes at Big Bear Mountain Resort in Big Bear, Calif., on Monday, Dec. 23, 2019. Winter weather advisories are in effect for the interior mountains of Los Angeles and Ventura counties, where a foot more of snow is expected at elevations above 7,000 feet and lesser amounts down to 5,000 feet. (Jared Meyer/Big Bear Mountain Resort via AP)