Record low temperatures follow snow in San Francisco

A tanker steams past the San Francisco skyline Thursday, Feb. 24, 2011, as seen from Treasure Island in San Francisco Bay. A cold snap is expected by the weekend that could bring sea-level snow to the Bay area. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

Snow fell overnight in the highest reaches of San Francisco, but the Bay area dodged the heavier flurries forecasters had been expecting, the weather service said on Saturday.

Northern California did experience record low temperatures overnight in several cities.

San Francisco got down to 37 degrees, which tied the previous cold weather record for this day set in 1962, said Chris Stumpf, meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

San Jose tied a record low of 33 degrees set way back in 1897, and Oakland got down to 34 degrees, breaking a record set in 1987.

“It was definitely cold enough, but it didn’t have the precipitation that we needed to get any of the snow showers that we were hoping for,” Stumpf said.

“It looks like it’s clearing out right now, and we’ll start to warm up as we go through the week,” he said.

The Twin Peaks area of San Francisco, where elevations are about 900 feet above sea level, received a dusting of snow, and there were also reports of light snow in Los Gatos, a town near San Jose, and the Santa Cruz Mountains, Stumpf said.

The snowfall in San Francisco coated the ground briefly, but quickly melted. No snow was observed in downtown San Francisco and meteorologist Dave Samuhel said the dusting would not count toward official records that show the last measurable snowfall in the area 35 years ago.

In southern California, two inches of snow fell along the Grapevine section of the Golden State Freeway north of Los Angeles, but the passage remained open to traffic, said Ryan Kittell, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

Meteorologists had been forecasting that snow could fall as low as 1,000 feet above sea level and dust the Hollywood sign on Mount Lee above Los Angeles, which would have been a pristine sight with the Academy Awards happening on Sunday.

Snow did not reach as low at the Hollywood Sign, but it did dust the cities of Palmdale and Lancaster north of Los Angeles, before quickly melting, Kittell said.

Up to 3 inches of rain fell in parts of the mountains and foothills of Los Angeles County overnight and small hail hit valley areas on Saturday morning, but the rain is expected to clear out in time for the Academy Awards ceremony on Sunday.

SOURCE: Reuters

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