Southern California mountains see season’s first snow, with another storm forecast for next week
Snow in the mountains could be this week’s first storm, with another coming in late this month, forecasters say.
Los Angeles issued a winter snow emergency for the mountains after six inches were recorded in Los Angeles County, near San Fernando with a one-inch reading in Santa Clarita.
The storms are unusual, with the first coming just days after the rainy season started, and with a second arriving over the weekend.
Forecasters are predicting that storms will continue into next week, creating a snow emergency in mountain passes along the Southern Sierra Nevada.
“A major storm is shaping up for Saturday night and Sunday. It looks like it could be more severe than last year,” said forecaster John Oates, head of the National Weather Service office in Sacramento.
The first storm of the season is expected to come on Saturday night after midnight.
“It looks like it will be a moderate snow event, not as strong as last year where we had a huge storm on the 11th,” he said. “At some point in time, we’re going to get another storm, but it’s too early. It’s hard to tell when the second wave is coming, since we’re only 6 to 10 days out.”
Meanwhile, in another first for California and the Mountain West, Friday was the first time since 1952 that two storms of equal size had hit the same time on the same weekend.
“This is another one that just sort of came out of nowhere,” Oates said.
The record has been since 1956 when the El Nino winter was dominating the California state and mountain weather. “This year we started with one of the strongest El Nino winters, and we ended with one of the weaker El Nino winters,” he said.
Oates said that last year’s El Nino snowstorms had snow totals of 17 inches in northern California and 11 inches in the Sierra Nevada, with one in southern California being 10 inches.
“This year we had a little bit of both, but in southern California we got more of the Sierra,” he said. “And also a little bit of the Pacific.”
The record for the number of El Nino winters is held by the 1957-1958 winter, when there were two storms of equal size that hit the same time on the same weekend.