Trapped at home, Southern California woman's front door blocked by 9 feet of ice

"None of us know when help's going to come," said Christine Foster.

March 6, 2023, 7:36 PM

With nine feet of snow piled up outside her home in the San Bernardino Mountains of Southern California, Christine Foster said Monday that she and her 76-year-old father remain trapped in their three-story cabin where their supply of food is running low.

For 14 days, Foster said she, her dad and her dog, "Riley" have been hunkered down, close to their fireplace. She told ABC News that the main entrance to her unit is blocked by snow that has turned to ice.

"You can't even shovel the stuff. It's just rock hard ice. Shovel's just easily break," Foster said in a telephone interview from her home in Lake Arrowhead, which she said is only about an hour drive from downtown Los Angeles.

PHOTO: A resident shovels snow after a series of winter storms dumped heavy snowfall in the San Bernardino Mountains, Mar. 3, 2023 in Crestline, Calif.
A resident shovels snow after a series of winter storms dumped heavy snowfall in the San Bernardino Mountains, Mar. 3, 2023 in Crestline, Calif.
Mario Tama/Getty Images

On Feb. 23, the National Weather Service issued a blizzard warning for the San Bernardino Mountains, the first in more than three decades. The weather service initially forecast a snowfall of about five feet at elevations as low as 5,000 feet.

Foster said her cabin sits at the 5,200-foot level, where more than 100 inches of snow has fallen in just the last week.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom has declared states of emergency in 13 counties, including San Bernardino.

PHOTO: Christine Foster speaks with ABC News.
Christine Foster speaks with ABC News.
ABC News

"We're just not use to this kind of snowstorm," Foster said. "It's historic up here. We've never had this much snow in such a short time."

She said that while the street in front of her cabin was plowed, the plowing created a 12-foot snow berm that is blocking her driveway, where her car is covered in snow.

Before the blizzard hit, Foster said she stocked up on groceries and bottled water. But on Monday, she said her supply was dwindling as she took inventory of her refrigerator and cupboards. She said she had three boxes of protein bars, two swordfish steaks, four lean pork chops, three frozen Lean Cuisine dinners and is down to tap water.

Adding to her anxiety, are chronic migraines she's been suffering from since her medication ran out several days ago.

"None of us know when help is going to come to our front doors. That's what's scary," Foster said.

PHOTO: Nine feet of snow covers the windows and door entrances of Christine Foster's home in Lake Arrowhead in the San Bernardino Mountains of Southern California.
Nine feet of snow covers the windows and door entrances of Christine Foster's home in Lake Arrowhead in the San Bernardino Mountains of Southern California.
Christine Foster

She said her father, a cancer survivor, suffers from a heart arrhythmia. She said her 75-year-old neighbor is a diabetic and another neighbor has leukemia.

"I mean, how many people are going to be found dead in their cabins because help didn't get to them," Foster said.

Many residents in surrounding communities said they are enduring similar circumstances. They said they are in "survival mode."

Some local residents were so desperate for help that a helicopter from ABC Los Angeles station KABC captured video footage on Friday of a large "Help us!!" sign written in the snow near Lake Gregory in the community of Crestline.

Officials said 80% of county roads were passable as of Monday. But residents complained that many roads had just one lane plowed.

PHOTO: This photo shows the massive amount of snow piled up at the home of Christine Foster in Lake Arrowhead in the San Bernardino Mountains of Southern California.
This photo shows the massive amount of snow piled up at the home of Christine Foster in Lake Arrowhead in the San Bernardino Mountains of Southern California.
Christine Foster

Many residents said they managed to dig out and drive down the mountain for supplies only to be prevented from driving back up the mountain by the California Highway Patrol.

The CHP said it is limiting access to highways to only emergency crews and food trucks delivering needed supplies.

"It sucks, it really sucks. I just want to get to my house. It's awful," Eddie Loya of Crestline told KABC. "I have been here three years and I have never seen anything like this."

PHOTO: A blizzard that hit Southern California's San Barnardino Mountains last week has left people trapped in their homes for days.
A blizzard that hit Southern California's San Barnardino Mountains last week has left people trapped in their homes for days.
Christine Foster

Drew Adzovich of the community of Running Springs said he has been shoveling out for 11 days now and remains stuck at home.

"I've been putting myself out, putting in like three to four hours a day," Adzovich told KABC. "That's not the best thing I would say."

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