‘Impressive snow amounts’ across Northern California as snow falls as low as 1,000 feet

Forecasts on iPhone weather apps created a bit of social media hype for the possibility of snow Tuesday in Folsom, but no snowmen popped up at the Palladio mall.

A cold morning and a low-pressure weather system brought the possibility of super-rare snow in Sacramento County, but National Weather Service meteorologists say with snow accumulating at elevations as low as 1,000 feet and snowflakes falling even lower than that, Northern California received “impressive snow amounts,” the NWS said.

Higher elevations in the Sierra received more than seven feet of snow over the past few days. Sierra-at-Tahoe received 90 inches since the weekend storm began, according to the NWS.

In Chico, which sits at a mere 197 feet, there were reports of graupel, NWS forecaster Brendon Rubin-Oster said. He described the snow-like precipitation as icy pellets, though he said it was not actually snow.

Snow totals for the past 24 hours, ending 3 p.m., are listed below:

  • Castle Peak: 40 inches
  • Tahoe Donner: 36 inches
  • Sierra-at-Tahoe: 36 inches

  • Heavenly: 36 inches
  • Northstar: 34 inches
  • Sugar Bowl: 34 inches
  • Kirkwood: 34 inches
  • Bear Valley: 23 inches
  • Homewood: 20 inches
  • Pollock Pines: 13 inches
  • Chester: 5 inches
  • Fall River Mills: 8 inches
  • Shingletown: 6.4 inches
  • Placerville: 2-3 inches
  • Quincy: 2.5 inches
  • Grass Valley: 2.4 inches

The storms have been hitting California for several days and brought a surprise dusting to peaks overlooking San Francisco – the city’s first notable snow in eight years. Yosemite’s ski area closed, restaurants had shorter hours and shuttles were not running because of snow-covered roads.

“It’s beautiful and we certainly need the snow, but we’re asking people to stay indoors,” park spokesman Scott Gediman said. “As the weather improves, we’ll plow roads and assess the situation.”

The snow closed several schools in El Dorado and Placer counties and delayed the opening of some government buildings.

Interstate 80, which received an estimated 40 inches of snow overnight just east of Vista Point, was reopened around 9:30 a.m., according to Caltrans., with chain controls lifted just before 3 p.m. Highways 50 and 49 had closures and chain controls throughout the day while Highway 89 remained closed from Ebrights to Bliss State Park, the agency said.

Meanwhile in Sacramento, the rain had dissipated well before the morning commute and forecasters called for clear skies through Thursday, with high temperatures in the low 50s. Nighttime lows will dip to the low 30s.

Hannah Chandler-Cooley, a NWS forecaster, said downtown Sacramento reached 100 percent of normal for year-to-date rainfall Monday.

It last snowed in the city of Sacramento on Dec. 7, 2009, as The Bee reported in 2013. The last measurable amount, 2 inches, fell on this day 43 years ago – February 5, 1976.

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