“Remarkable” Snow Flurries in Pasadena on Thursday, First Since 1962

Published : Friday, February 22, 2019 | 6:28 AM


There were low temperatures and then there was precipitation, and then there was snow in Pasadena Thursday afternoon.

“Never thought I’d see the day that it would snow in Pasadena!” Rebecca Contreras posted on Pasadena Now’s Facebook page.

“I took a video!!! Was so cool!” posted Vinita Khilnani.

Pictures and videos of light snow flurries poured into this publication from chilly but delighted Pasadenans, mostly from those who were in Central and West Pasadena.

“No snow in Lower Hasting,” lamented Maria Lloyd. “Just cold.”

The National Weather Service had been right on the mark when it predicted the day would make for “a very interesting weather day,” and some of the coldest air in many years entered the area from the northeast.

The system, the Service explained, had originated in Alberta, Canada and traveled overland so there was no opportunity for warmer ocean waters to modify the cold air mass.

Then around 1:30 p.m. snow was reported falling in Pasadena.

“The atmosphere above us must be cold enough for ice to form. It needs to be cold enough so that water freezes as it falls,” said Tapio Schneider, the Theodore Wu professor of environmental science and engineering at Caltech and a senior research association at Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

If it didn’t feel cold as the snow came down, Schneider said it was in any case, especially given the snow’s slushy, wet cast.

“It would be colder, higher up, to make snow,” he said. “It would have to be colder closer to the ground to get the more icy kind.”

The National Weather Service forecast for Pasadena Thursday had predicted a daytime high of 54 degrees.

Dr. Bill Patzert, a retired JPL climatologist, said the presence of snow here is nothing short of remarkable given global warming and urban heat island impact.

“The last decent snowfall in Pasadena was in 1949,” he recalled. “There was a sprinkling of flurries in 1962. That was 57 years ago. Since then, the Southland has dramatically warmed.”

The National Weather Service said the wetness has moved through the area and Friday will be sunny and 59 degrees. Tonight will be cold, bottoming out at 37.

Here’s a look at the forecast for the weekend and beyond:

Saturday: Sunny, with a high near 60. Calm wind becoming southwest around 5 mph.

Saturday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 41. Southwest wind around 5 mph becoming calm.

Sunday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 63.

Sunday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 43.

Monday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 65.

Monday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 45.

Tuesday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 67.

Tuesday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 48.

Wednesday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 68.

Wednesday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 48.

Thursday: Sunny, with a high near 71.