Has it ever snowed on Christmas in San Francisco?

Has it ever snowed on Christmas in San Francisco?

The San Francisco Bay Area was transformed into a winter wonderland by an unexpected blizzard in 1976. That miracle has been preserved in time due to Chronicle readers. We began our S.F. Snow Day 1976 project in 2019, utilizing Chronicle pictures to document Feb. 5, 1976 - the day before President Ford declared a national emergency because of the cold weather - as well as today's holiday.

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day have always been warm days in San Francisco, but several years ago we found evidence that Christmas had snowed before anyone else knew about it. The Chronicle published photographs from that era, which showed a white Christmas scene outside its offices at 800 Market St. in San Francisco.

The paper said a team of photographers had raced against the freezing bay wind to get those shots. A photographer for the Chronicle named Gary Kamiya is credited with capturing the magic moment when Santa Claus waves to children on Duboce Street in South San Francisco.

In 2016, another reader-submitted photo made us reconsider the fact that Christmas has never snowed in San Francisco. This image showed a foot of powder on the ground near Lake Merced in San Jose on Dec. 25, 1995. It was submitted by Michael Keyes of Santa Cruz who wrote, "I can't believe I got a call back! I thought I'd died and gone to heaven."

Has it ever snowed at the beach in California?

On February 7, 1976, an overhead image of the Golden Gate Bridge and Marin Headlands coated with snow all the way down to sea level—the last occasion measurable snow fell at sea level in the San Francisco Bay Area. The National Weather Service in San Francisco measured 3 inches of snow across the region. It was the result of a cold front that moved into California from the north.

The next day, a helicopter flying over the scene observed only sand dunes at the shoreline, indicating that the snow had melted before reaching land.

This is not surprising considering that beaches in California are usually made of dirt or rock, which doesn't melt as easily as ice does.

However, if you're lucky enough to find yourself on a beach during a storm, you can probably go for a walk on all that white powder without getting wet.

The best part is that when it starts to rain, the snow will turn into ice, making for an interesting walking experience.

It's also possible to ski on dry sand if you build up enough speed!

Finally, don't forget to take pictures because snow at the beach is pretty rare and you'll want to remember this moment forever.

What year did it snow in Oakland?

The last time it snowed in the East Bay hills, according to the National Weather Service, was in 2011; before that, it was in 1976. The East Bay was hit by a mix of snow and hail on Monday, resulting in a deluge of videos on social media.

There are several locations around the bay where you can find historical weather data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. One site is at www.noaa.gov/oc/index.html. You can search for weather stations around the region to see when they were established and how far they are from shore. That information along with the date and time of your visit will help scientists reconstruct events that occurred many years ago.

Another useful tool for learning more about local climate history is the East Bay Regional Park District's Bird Atlas. This interactive map shows which parks have bird surveys conducted recently by trained volunteers. The results are used by conservation biologists working to protect birds and their habitats throughout the region.

Yet another resource available to researchers is the collection of monthly weather reports published by the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC). These documents contain information about temperature, precipitation, wind speed and direction, and other variables at hundreds of meteorological stations across the United States.

Does it ever snow in the Bay Area?

Snowstorms are uncommon in downtown San Francisco; in fact, just six documented snowfall occurrences of one inch or more have occurred in that region in the previous 150 years. But it does get cold here, with average temperatures between 42 and 46 degrees Fahrenheit during winter months.

When it does snow, it usually doesn't stick around for long. One recent study showed that only 1 in 100,000 snowflakes is likely to remain on the ground for more than 24 hours. The rest melt within an hour or two of falling from the sky.

Since there's no real base of ice to build up from, most cities can't boast a great deal of snowfall accumulation. According to the National Weather Service, the average snowfall total in the San Francisco area is about 11 inches. But because so much of it melts before it can accumulate, there are few days when you can walk outside and find any evidence that it has been here recently.

That said, some areas do see more precipitation than others. If you look at the adjacent map, you'll see that coastal California tends to experience more rain than inland regions like the San Francisco Bay Area.

About Article Author

Michael King

Michael King has been a writer for over 7 years. He enjoys writing about nature, plants, and animals. He has a degree in Environmental Science from Stanford University. His favorite thing to write about is the impact humans have on the environment and how that affects us as individuals.


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