CSUSB welcomes a rare blizzard

By Staff Reporter

The last time San Bernardino saw a blizzard of this magnitude was in 1979, according to the National Weather Service. (Credits to Coyote Chronicles Staff Reporter)

California State University, San Bernardino, located adjacent to the San Bernardino mountain towns, was hit by a blizzard for the first time in decades, causing classes to be canceled and snow to pile up on the campus.

The storm caused travel disruptions and power outages in several regions, with emergency services warning people to stay indoors and avoid driving on icy roads. The last time the university witnessed such extreme weather conditions was decades ago, making this a rare event for the community.

Southern California is currently experiencing a potent winter storm that has caused temperatures to plummet and lowered snow levels across the region. On the morning of Thursday February 23, light snow fell in several areas, including Santa Clarita, Simi Valley, La Crescenta, La Cañada Flintridge, Sun Valley, and San Bernardino County, including Fontana and Yucaipa, while scattered rain showers and hail were more widespread.

The inclement weather caused slick and icy conditions in Yucaipa, which contributed to a 20-car pileup that sent eight people to the hospital overnight. 

Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia announced that it would not open on February 23 due to the severe weather conditions.

The winter storm also brought periods of heavy rain and snow to Southwest California on Friday February 24 and Saturday February 25. 

High wind and winter storm warnings were issued for Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Riverside, and Ventura counties. 

The NWS has also issued a blizzard warning for mountain areas in Ventura and L.A. counties, which took effect at 4 a.m. Friday February 24 and extended through 4 p.m. on Saturday February 25.

“We have not experienced blizzard-like conditions in our Southern California mountains since before 2007,” KTLA weatherman Kaj Goldberg said. “So, we’re getting ready for a historic event.”

The NWS warned that snow accumulations up to 5 feet and wind gusts more than 55 mph were expected, and low snow levels meant that this was the largest amount of 24-48 hour snowfall seen in decades for both the Ventura and Los Angeles County mountains. Caltrans warned nonessential travelers to avoid areas of the San Bernardino County Mountains, like Big Bear, where snow began falling on Wednesday and continued into the weekend.

Previous to the weekend, Andrew Tardy, with the National Weather Service, told KTLA that they expected to see 1 to 2 inches of snow per hour and 2 to 3 feet of snow by Saturday evening. 

Snow levels began to drop from the mountains down to elevated valleys and mountain passes in the L.A. area Thursday morning. Elevations as low as 1,000 feet could see 1 to 6 inches of snow, creating dangerous driving conditions on the 5 Freeway through the Grapevine and elsewhere.

In the Angeles National Forest, The 2 Freeway was closed from 3.3 miles east of Newcomb’s Ranch to Vincent Gulch Road, and a requirement for vehicles to use chains between Vincent Gulch Road and Wrightwood was put in place. Foothill communities and even the famous Hollywood Sign could also see snowflakes mixed in with heavy rain.

Snow captured falling over the Hollywood Sign in Los Angeles. (Credits to Reuters News)

The NWS warned of potential flooding and issues near burn scars on Friday, February 24, with rainfall rates of up to 1 inch an hour on the frontal band of the storm expected to bring between 2 and 4 inches of precipitation. 

Saturday February 25 was the last day of rainfall in the forecast, and brought heavy showers, lightning, and small hail in some areas. Previous to the storm, NWS warned of the potential for waterspout activity over the ocean and brief, small tornadoes near the coast.

Dangerous marine conditions with seas peaking between 13 and 22 feet were forecasted from Tuesday through Friday.

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