Why Is A Blizzard Hitting Southern California?

Why Is A Blizzard Hitting Southern California?

It isn’t day by day that snow blocks roads close to the Southern California metropolis of Santa Barbara, or it snows on the mountain the place the long-lasting Hollywood signal stands. These scenes got here courtesy of a robust winter storm that introduced uncommon blizzard situations to the southern components of the state.

The Nationwide Climate Service’s (NWS) workplace in San Diego has issued a blizzard warning for the primary time in its historical past, and the company’s Los Angeles workplace has executed so for the primary time since 1989.

The huge storm has already set off chilly situations throughout the Pacific Northwest, giving Portland its second snowiest day on report, down 10.8 inches Wednesday. Snow, wind, and colder-than-normal situations unfold throughout northern California because the storm moved south. Downtown San Francisco noticed temperatures as little as 39 levels Fahrenheit for the primary time since 2017, and snow within the Santa Cruz Mountains south of San Jose brought about roads to be blocked, in keeping with the NWS’s San Francisco Bay Space workplace.

Though winter storms aren’t uncommon in California and infrequently convey snow to mountain peaks within the southern a part of the state, snowfalls there are often measured in inches. However this storm is anticipated to convey heavy snow, says Ryan Kittell, a meteorologist on the NWS’s Los Angeles workplace. “Snowfall over our mountains could also be unprecedented,” stated meteorologist Alex Turdy of the NWS’s San Diego workplace. online briefing.

A number of elements come collectively to make this such a outstanding occasion. First, the storm is pulling air from Canada, so it is very chilly. This unusually chilly climate is why snow fell at surprisingly low ranges, to an altitude of about 1,500 ft, within the hills round Los Angeles on Thursday, Kittell says. Snows on this space usually fall above 5,000 ft. Unusually low snow ranges on this storm have been the explanation State Freeway 154, which leads inland from Santa Barbara, needed to shut on Thursday, one thing Kittell says she would not keep in mind taking place earlier than. (It is unclear whether or not it was snow or one other intently associated type of frozen precipitation referred to as graupel—however each would have been very uncommon.)

The storm may also contact what meteorologists name the atmospheric river: very moist air currents pushed by robust winds. “This may solely improve the quantity of rain and snow,” says Samantha Connolly, a meteorologist on the NWS’s workplace in San Diego.

Connolly says because of this mountain areas can have loads of snow for the storm’s robust winds to blow round, creating “nearly white situations” in these areas. “Touring within the mountains can be almost unimaginable.” These are the situations that characterize a blizzard that the NWS classifies as a storm with massive quantities of snow, greater than 35 winds per hour, and fewer than 1 / 4 mile visibility.

Along with snow, massive quantities of rain can fall quickly at low altitudes and valleys alongside the coast, creating flood dangers as the bottom typically can’t soak up water quick sufficient. This generally is a drawback, particularly in city areas, the place massive asphalt surfaces imply there’s much less open floor to soak up rain.

On a extra optimistic notice, the snowfall will doubtless assist alleviate California’s years of drought. Many of the state’s water assets come from spring melting snow cowl that fills rivers, reservoirs, and groundwater. “Any snow we are able to get, any rain we are able to get” will scale back drought, Connolly says.

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