After record levels of rainfall and flooding throughout California in January, the state has now experienced a historic snowfall. Not only has Lake Tahoe received almost 130 inches of snow in Feb., but even the Santa Cruz Mountains and Mount Diablo saw rare snowfall on multiple days for the past couple months.
Overall, the Santa Cruz Mountains received the highest totals of the Bay Area, reaching almost 12 inches of snow at 2,500 feet of elevation and around three inches of snow in areas like Felton, which is just 700 feet above sea level. Although it is common for the Santa Cruz Mountains to experience a light dusting of snow each year, snow at such a low elevation is a rare occurrence.
Due to the weather conditions, various South Bay highways closed because of fallen trees and power lines. For example, officials closed Highway 17, which runs from San Jose to Santa Cruz, from Scotts Valley until Bear Creek Road, in order for a Caltrans crew to remove downed trees and clear snow from the road. Additionally, officials asked Santa Cruz Mountains residents to cancel travel — other than travel for emergencies — due to the dangerous conditions on the roads. Not only were many residents unable to leave their homes, but many also lost power at the end of February. Ed Dee, who has lived in the Santa Cruz Mountains for almost 50 years, explained, “There really isn’t an end in sight right now…We see the crews out here, the PG&E crews. God bless them. They’re out here working super hard. Last night, there were just crews everywhere. But our infrastructure is down.”
The storms also affected many LGHS students whose families live in the Santa Cruz Mountains. LGHS Senior Kaelie Arnold described the experience, explaining “There was a lot of property damage for us. Tree branches took out our gate, and the weight of the snow collapsed our screened in porch and screened in garden. I’d say we were pretty lucky though because there were no trees that fell directly onto our house.” Although her family has a generator that helped power their home, they didn’t get power back for almost a week, at which point they were forced to turn off the generator at night since they had almost run out of fuel. When driving down to Los Gatos from the mountains, she detailed that there were “power lines lying across the road, and a tree that had broken, whose branches would scrape the top of our car when we drove under it.” While Arnold recognized the hardships the snowy conditions brought, she quickly found a silver lining to the situation. She noted that on the morning of Feb. 24, she woke up to her entire yard covered in snow, so Arnold and her family played in the snow during the afternoon, making a huge snowman and snow angels. Senior Teodor Langan summed it up, explaining that “Overall, some was good, and some bad, but in the end it was a very memorable experience, and a great end to my February break.”
(Sources: NBC Bay Area, San Francisco Chronicle, The Sacramento Bee)