Southern California mountains see season’s first snow, with another storm forecast for next week
A man walks his dog on Mount Whitney ski resort on Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2013, in Colorado Springs, Colo. The high altitude of the San Luis Valley in southern California’s San Bernardino Mountains, where the Sierra Nevada and Eastern Plains meet, has been forecast to receive as much as 28 inches of snow. (Gerald Herbert/AP Photo)
The snow could add another foot of powdery white to the San Luis Obispo area, where at least two inches of snow are expected to fall before it melts away next week.
San Luis Obispo County plans to open its snow-board parks Saturday morning, and the city of Paso Robles is planning a 1-hour snowmobiling event Saturday night.
In L.A., Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said the city’s snow-coverage plan would go into effect Wednesday for all 1,700 residential streets in the city, even though many are blocked by fallen trees and power lines.
The snow may be light this year on the western slopes of the San Bernardino Mountains, which reach an altitude of 4,000 feet and are among the world’s few mountains where the snow never stops falling.
The mountains are also unusually wet.
Ski Apache, a two-year-old resort in the mountains, had already received 10 inches of snow as of Tuesday, and organizers expect more. On Sunday, two inches of snow were dumped on a parking lot next to the resort.
In the foothill communities of the Sierra Nevada, the winter storms have been a welcome reminder that more than 50 inches of rain fell in the city of Palm Springs last month, causing more than $2 billion in damage.
The heavy rains, which began Jan. 20, prompted some 600,000 Californians to sign up for a relief fund to help victims of the floods and mudslides. Thousands also were forced to evacuate to save their homes.
The latest water in the mountains this year was a combination of rain and snowmelt that had been trapped in the mountains the past few days.
Mammoth Snowmass, a three-year-old mountain in the San Francisco Peaks, has seen its snowpack increase by about 60 percent from this time last year to 11 inches so far this year.
“It’s a beautiful, beautiful mountain,” said