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San Francisco snow: Snow falls in SF, Monterey and is likely to dust Los Angeles-area foothills

February 26, 2011 |  4:28 am

Snow has fallen in San Francisco, Monterey, and the San Joaquin Valley, and the intensely cold arctic storm was expected to bring snow to the foothills across the Los Angeles area Saturday, the National Weather Service said. 

The storm was expected to pass into Southern California around sunrise Saturday, bringing snow to levels as low as 1,500 feet. Snowflakes could fall on the the Santa Monica Mountains, in the Antelope and the Santa Clarita valleys, and in the higher elevations on the northern edge of the San Fernando Valley, such as Porter Ranch, said Curt Kaplan, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Oxnard. 

As for foothill communities like La Crescenta and Altadena, “absolutely, they’ll be getting some snow for sure, at least a dusting of it,” Kaplan said. 

In San Francisco, Friday's sunny skies turned snowy in hilly neighborhoods like Twin Peaks after dark, according to meteorologist Mark Strobin of the National Weather Service in Monterey.

"So far, it's just been a dusting," Strobin said. Trained spotters for the weather service have reported snowflakes sticking to the wooden fences and beams, but there have not been any reports of snow sticking to the ground in the hills, much less at sea level in the city, Strobin said.

Still, snow has fallen at sea level just outside the weather service's offices in Monterey. "It's pretty exciting," Strobin said, although the snow melted once it hit the ground.

The prospect of the first significant snowfall in San Francisco in 35 years brought much anticipation this week. The website http://isitsnowinginsfyet.com/ heralded the snowflakes' arrival overnight by posting images of snowmen.

The arctic storm also brought snow to the San Joaquin Valley city of Arvin, at an elevation of 400 feet, and in the hills above the Central California coastal city of San Luis Obispo, Kaplan said. 

As to whether the storm would be cold enough for snowflakes to dust the ground near the Hollywood sign, chances were looking slim. Kaplan said the weather service has updated its forecast to say snowfall in the L.A. area would be as low as 1,500 feet, higher than a previous forecast of 1,000 feet.

The Hollywood sign on Mt. Lee is at an elevation of about 1,600 feet. 

"I don't think it'll be down to the Hollywood sign," Kaplan said. "But who knows?"

-- Rong-Gong Lin II

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Rains falling in L.A., but snow possible in low-elevation areas