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Los Angeles snow
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Los Angeles residents discover snow

This photo provided by the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department shows a snow covered entrance sign to Joshua Tree National Park on Thursday, Feb. 21, 2019. Forecasters say a cold weather system could bring snow to extremely low elevations of Southern California and the San Joaquin Valley. (Sgt. Daniel Hanke/County Sheriff's Department via AP)

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.


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.


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.


Until Thursday, it has snowed in L.A. only eleven times since records began to be kept in 1877.