More winter storms were on the way for California, where a blast of Arctic air blew snow into the San Francisco Bay Area, causing treacherous driving conditions and some schools to close.
Nearly 4 inches of snow crested the Santa Cruz Mountains on Monday and snow crept below 1,000 feet on other peaks in the Bay Area, according to National Weather Service meteorologist Steve Anderson.
More snow was expected for Santa Clara County and counties in the San Joaquin Valley, while thunderstorms, hail showers and gusty winds were expected in the Bay Area counties of Sonoma, Napa, San Francisco and San Mateo.
Flakes fell just after midnight Monday on San Francisco’s Twin Peaks, the first such sighting since 1998.
Enough snow stuck to the ground Monday morning to close schools in Sonoma County and disrupt the morning commute from Santa Cruz County to the Sacramento Valley. Much of it melted later in the day.
Glenda Delenstarr, a scientist for Agilent Technologies, grabbed her snow parka and pants from the garage and took a break Monday from working at her Belmont home to drive up to the northern ridge of the Santa Cruz Mountains above Redwood City.
“It’s incredible,” she said, as she watched the midday sun start to melt the inch-thick blanket of snow on the redwoods. “We’re blessed to live in such a beautiful area.”
Some of the front yards of homes along the regular route in the Skyline Boulevard area for FedEx courier Mo Lotfy were decorated with snowmen Monday morning.
“It’s cool to have snow up here sometimes,” he said. “It brings Tahoe to the Bay Area.”
In Petaluma, school officials saw 3 inches of snow on the ground around 5 a.m. Monday and canceled classes for their district’s 7,800 students on the new semester’s first day.
Though the streets were dry by midmorning, Carl Wong, superintendent of the Petaluma City Schools District, said he had worried about getting kids to class when most drivers, not least of all high school students, are unfamiliar with snow-slicked roads.
The district might not need to schedule a makeup day because officials padded the schedule with extra class minutes in case of such an emergency, Wong said.
Officials said they had to close Highway 9 near the Santa Clara County line because of piled-up snow. Fat flakes were falling so heavily on Highway 17 near Santa Cruz that trucks pulled off at the summit. Dustings were also reported all over the Marin and Napa county hills — and well south in San Leandro.
It dropped several inches on Lake County Monday morning, with another 6-to-8 inches expected for Tuesday, according to the National Weather Service.
“People are slipping and sliding, hitting their brakes and sliding some more,” said Jim Jones, a Caltrans worker in Clearlake Oaks.
Jones said Highways 20, 29 and roads on Cobb Mountain have been closed.
Forecasters said the storm would travel south and that the cold air could lower snow levels to around 500 feet overnight.
Heavy rain in Southern California late Sunday and early Monday was followed by clearing. But the respite was brief, and a bitter wind blew dark clouds across Los Angeles as forecasters posted winter storm warnings or advisories for overnight snow in the mountain ranges from Santa Barbara County east and south to San Diego County as well as in the high desert.
The storm hit the Pacific Northwest over the weekend and killed at least three people and left a hiker missing on Monday. Fourteen inches of snow fell Sunday on British Columbia’s Vancouver Island and at Sequim on Washington’s northern Olympic Peninsula. Six inches fell at Duvall, just east of Seattle, before the snowfall tapered off early Monday.
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