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First Snow in 35 Years for San Francisco this Week!?

February 25, 2011
Heather Buchman, Meteorologist
Feb 24, 2011; 3:13 PM ET
For more details on this week’s potentially historic event in San Francisco and to see the snow that fell in the higher elevations there last weekend, click on this video.

It’s been more than three decades since snow has fallen in downtown San Francisco, and there is a possibility that this long streak will be broken by the end of this week.

Lower elevations around Los Angeles, as well as other parts of California and the Southwest where it rarely snows, could also have snowflakes flying this weekend. Las Vegas is another place where snowflakes may be seen.

In some places, the snow will be heavy enough to disrupt travel significantly or even shut down travel completely.

“With snow potentially falling down to sea level in the San Francisco Bay area, this could be a one-in-30-year event if it all transpires,” warned AccuWeather.com Western Expert Ken Clark Wednesday.

Snow already made an appearance in some of the higher elevations around San Francisco with a storm this past weekend, and a storm moving in later this week will bring snow to even lower elevations.

This is the same storm bringing snow to Seattle and Portland.

The cold air coming in with this storm has Clark very impressed.

“There indeed could be snow in the San Francisco Bay area and the Central Valley of California Friday afternoon and night,” Clark stated, “and a few rain and snow showers Saturday. Snow levels could go down to 1,000 feet in the L.A. Basin Saturday.”

In downtown San Francisco, he adds that it is very possible that in a heavy rain shower there could at least be wet snowflakes. It’s not a guarantee but it’s certainly possible.

There is growing concern that major passes around the San Francisco Bay area will be affected by snow.

In addition to the San Francisco Bay area and some valleys of Southern California, snow could also fall in the Upper Deserts and the heavily-traveled passes of Southern California, including the Grapevine and Cajon Pass.

“Precipitation will be all snow above 3,000 feet, or certainly below pass level,” Clark said, “so the Grapevine could pick up 6 to 10 inches of snow.”

Clark adds that other passes, such as the 14 Freeway from L.A. to the Antelope Valley, will also be affected. He says that even the Antelope Valley itself could have snow.

Snow along Interstate 40 into Arizona could become a major problem as well.

AccuWeather.com Senior Meteorologist Kristina Pydynowski has more details on the feet of snow in store for the Sierra.

The last time it snowed in downtown San Francisco was on Feb. 5, 1976, when 1 inch of snow was measured.

For more details on the storm and what to expect at different elevations across California, refer to Clark’s blog.

Photo courtesy of Photos.com

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