SACRAMENTO — The meteorologists had advised staying indoors. California will experience historic snowfalls. There will be snowploughs available.
Nevertheless, certain things must be seen to be believed.
In Silicon Valley, in the hills above Los Gatos, Bart Giordano awoke at midnight on Friday to see snow drifts he had never seen in the area in his 46 years accumulating on the pine limbs and covering his patio lounge chairs.
A fussy 4-year-old woke up Danny Cullenward, an energy economist, who looked out the window and saw lightning, heard a rumble, and then noticed a type of falling slush that he remembered from his youth in the Midwest.Snow is so rare in most of California that people had to look in a big weather dictionary to find the right words to describe it.
“Thundergraupel in San Francisco!” he tweeted gleefully, using a recently popular term for precipitation that is neither hail nor snowflakes.
Later, he admitted, “I was like a child on Christmas Eve.”
California is a large state, and its high elevations and ski slopes are as susceptible to snowfall as those in the neighbouring state. Even the warmest regions of Southern California are occasionally dusted with snow.
However, snow is generally not the Golden State’s claim to fame. The storm is so extraordinary that a nearly unprecedented blizzard warning was issued for Friday and Saturday in Southern California. State and local officials issued warnings to residents to stay off the roads and avoid the mountains out of concern that many could become stranded in never-before-experienced arctic conditions.
Already on Friday, the storm had forced the closure of Interstate 5, the main north-south route between Los Angeles and the Central Valley, at Grapevine. At different times, it shut down Interstate 80 over the Sierra Nevada and caused vehicles of all sizes to spin out on various roads.
Despite dangerous conditions and serious threats to motorists, a large number of Californians emerged to see what new novelty had fallen from the sky—aand, of course, to take selfies.
Social media created its own blizzard: snow days in Yucaipa, snow on the tombstones of Bakersfield Cemetery, snow in the mountains of San Luis Obispo, and snow on the Victorian homes of Eureka.
Melissa Leib was so awed by the winter wonderland outside her home in the Santa Cruz Mountains that instead of her usual Friday posts about feng shui, she paid tribute to the “Freaky Friday” weather in her backyard.
Well-known Santa Cruz surfer Darshan Gooch laughed out loud as snow fell on Twin Lakes State Beach, an “epic” moment he stopped to photograph on his way across town to purchase wet suits on Thursday morning.
On Friday he stated, “I knew an unusual storm system was approaching, but I was a little surprised when it actually occurred.” It didn’t stick, but it was beautiful to see.