It hasn’t snowed in Los Angeles since 1962 and it shows.
A rare snowfall in Southern California on Thursday prompted residents in and around Los Angeles to feel a wide range of emotions, from disbelief to excitement to confusion.
The forecast of snow for Los Angeles this week left one meteorologist saying, “Am I reading this right?”
The snowstorm forced the closure of portions of the West Coast’s main highway, the I-5.
The snow also forced the National Weather Service to explain what snow is to the frosty Southern California residents. While Utahns, who boast “the greatest snow on Earth” and a number of world-class ski resorts, have no problem identifying the various forms of winter precipitation, southern Californians apparently needed a little more help.
Correct, that is snow! Lots of confusion today. If precip bounces it contains ice – call it sleet or small hail. If precip in flakes it’s snow, white balls are melted flakes called graupel. #CAwx #LArain #CAstorm https://t.co/Awdddmp7tc
— NWS Los Angeles (@NWSLosAngeles) February 21, 2019
To clarify, precipitation falling in the form of flakes is snow. If the snow contains ice, it’s actually sleet or small hail. If the precipitation is in a warmer, liquid form, it’s rain.
Four school districts in the area canceled school on Thursday, giving Southern California students a once-in-a-lifetime snow day.
— bill kerbox (@billkerbox) February 21, 2019
The cold streak broke the record for low temperatures at the Santa Barbara Airport, reaching a just-barely-warmer-than-freezing 33 degrees.
The wintry weather was caused by a cold storm system that made an historic trip south from Canada.
If you look closely at this video from the San Diego office of the NWS, you can see some snow falling to the left of the rainbow.
#Timelapse from our office today! Watch the #rainbow re-forming and wait for the snow shower in the distance (snow falling at 2000 FT) at the end! #castorm #cawx #SanDiegoWx pic.twitter.com/TY3MoJTK2Z
— NWS San Diego (@NWSSanDiego) February 22, 2019
Until Thursday, it has snowed in L.A. only eleven times since records began to be kept in 1877.