Rain lingers over parts of California from big, slow-moving storm clouds
The Pacific Northwest is enjoying a sunny, relatively uncharacteristic stretch of warm weather. (Getty Images/iStockphoto)
The state’s hot yet unseasonably cool temperatures have persisted for much of California, with a clear lag between the Pacific Northwest on one side and the rest of the state on the other.
At the same time, California has experienced a string of powerful storms moving out of the Pacific Northwest.
One of the biggest storm threats to California was an intense cold front that moved out of British Columbia in mid-March and into parts of the coastal areas of California, bringing snow and freezing rain.
But the cold front failed to bring the coldest weather to Los Angeles, and the storm that did hit L.A. was just a weak tropical disturbance that produced only a few snow-accumulating storms.
In the past, California had seen an average of 2.6 named storms per year between January and March. But this year, that rate has increased to 3.4 named storms for the same period.
There have been seven named storms of various sizes this year, with the biggest, an estimated 40 inches (102 centimeters) in size, dumping 2 feet (610 millimeters) of snow in the Sierra Nevada in early March. The cold front that came through California produced a significant storm; it dumped 13.9 inches (35 centimeters) of snow on the Sierra Nevada, according to the National Weather Service.
The largest snowstorm in California history, an estimated 24 inches (61 centimeters) in size, hit the Sierra Nevada in February 2013.
The storms have left Los Angeles and San Francisco, along with other communities in the San Francisco Bay Area, in the throes of extreme cold.
In San Francisco, temps plunged to near 50 degrees (10 Celsius) this week and could stay there through early April, according to the National Weather Service. Officials there are trying to clear snow and ice from streets, while trying to limit heat-related illness.
On Wednesday, the temperature in San Francisco was 37.8 degrees (98.2 Celsius). The previous coldest temperature in San Francisco since records began