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Rare snowfall seen in San Francisco and Los Angeles

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
    The sky clears as snow covers the trees and a passing car on Saturday, Feb. 26, 2011 in Frazier Park, Calif. Showers early Saturday dumped up to three inches of rain in the foothills above Los Angeles, and about a half-inch downtown. Some roads were closed late Friday because of minor debris flow runoff in areas burned by wildfires in 2009. (AP Photo/Los Angeles Times, Irfan Khan) NO FORNS; NO SALES; MAGS OUT; ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER OUT; LOS ANGELES DAILY NEWS OUT; VENTURA COUNTY STAR OUT; INLAND VALLEY DAILY BULLETIN OUT; SAN BERNARDINO SUN OUT; MANDATORY CREDIT, TV OUT
  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
    Angelie Seprish, 7, tastes freshly fallen snow on Saturday, Feb. 26, 2011 in Frazier Park, Calif. Showers early Saturday dumped up to three inches of rain in the foothills above Los Angeles, and about a half-inch downtown. Some roads were closed late Friday because of minor debris flow runoff in areas burned by wildfires in 2009. (AP Photo/Los Angeles Times, Irfan Khan) NO FORNS; NO SALES; MAGS OUT; ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER OUT; LOS ANGELES DAILY NEWS OUT; VENTURA COUNTY STAR OUT; INLAND VALLEY DAILY BULLETIN OUT; SAN BERNARDINO SUN OUT; MANDATORY CREDIT, TV OUT
  • MCT
    Taylor Micallef, left, 6, and Douglas Harris, 8, throw snow balls at each other at a vista point off Highway 35, near La Honda, California, on Saturday, February 26, 2011. A light dusting of snow fell in San Francisco, Monterey and the San Joaquin Valley as an arctic storm made its way down the state. (John Green/Contra Costa Times/MCT)
  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
    Northbound traffic on Interstate 5 encounters snow covered mountains on Saturday Feb. 26, 2011 near Lebac, Calif. Cold air is moving into Southern California on the tail end of another winter storm that is bringing heavy rain to some areas and snow to the foothills above Los Angeles.(AP Photo/Mike Meadows)
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LOS ANGELES>> The official snow-level may have fallen short of expectations Saturday, but that didn’t prevent Los Angeles County residents from enjoying rare winter conditions this weekend.

Burbank, Glendale and Studio City were some of the areas that saw flakes of soft hail or snow pellets, according to weather reports. The precipitation was part of an unusual weather system that flowed south from Canada and dropped snow and rain across much of the state.

The snow level in L.A. County as of Saturday evening was about 1,700 feet, according to the National Weather Service. Earlier reports had forecast snow as low as 1,000 feet.

But even below that, there was hail, ice pellets and a frozen variety of precipitation known as graupel "that certainly looked like real snow," said Stuart Seto, a specialist at the weather service.

In Northern California, Hilly areas of San Francisco got a rare light dusting of snow, the National Weather Service said Saturday.

Snow fell briefly late Friday and early Saturday on the city’s Twin Peaks neighborhood and some other areas with higher elevations, meteorologist Mark Strobin said.

But there was only rain downtown and in other other areas of the near sea level city, and the snow that did fall disappeared rapidly.

The city last saw snow on the ground in 1976, when an inch fell.

The storm system moving across Northern California responsible for San Francisco’s snow also dumped more than 2 feet of snow in the Sierra Nevada mountains.

Near Los Angeles in Burbank, the white stuff started to fall about 5 p.m. at just 600 feet elevation.

"It just started coming down as hail, and then there was this giant sheet of snow; it was awesome" said Matthew Currie Holmes, an actor from Burbank.

Holmes said the precipitation quickly formed a white layer over his lawn and car. Shortly after, his neighbors launched into a snowball fight outside his home, he said.

In most of the lower-elevation areas, the precipitation melted or turned to slush once it hit the ground. But local mountains received huge snowfalls. At Mount Baldy in the Angeles National Forest, 4 feet of snow was reported. Mountain High in Wrightwood received 2  1/2 feet.

The system moved into the region Friday, bringing rain and cold temperatures to many parts of the county, Seto said. Cold air toward the end of the system created unstable conditions Saturday and caused a drop in snow levels.

The weather forced the closure of several roads in the Station fire burn area, including Angeles Forest Highway and Big Tujunga Canyon Road. The Los Angeles County Department of Public Works said in a release that the roads would reopen once conditions improved.

Heavy snowfall was reported along the Grapevine, and California Highway Patrol officers escorted cars throughout much of the afternoon, the CHP said. Escorts were also in effect along Interstate 14.

Temperatures were expected to remain low across the region Sunday morning but rise in the afternoon. Seto said that temperatures will climb in the early part of the week but that more precipitation is likely Wednesday.

 

 

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