Snow in the Los Angeles basin (where elevation ranges from sea level to about 1,200 feet and where most of the population lives) is quite rare. Average low temperatures in the basin typically do not dip below the 40s and less commonly into the high 30s. For measurable snow to occur, temperatures at ground level must be at or below 32 degrees Fahrenheit. Nevertheless, on January 17, 2007, an extremely rare light dusting of snow fell in the Malibu area and in West Los Angeles. Most weather stations around Los Angeles County have, on rare occasions, reported at least a few trace amounts of snow.
The National Weather Service records area weather data in downtown Los Angeles, at the Los Angeles International Airport, and in Long Beach. These locations, for the reasons outlined above, rarely experience snow. Snow does fall annually in the San Gabriel Mountains in Los Angeles County and even occasionally in the foothills. The unincorporated community of Altadena, for example, lies about 1,300 feet above sea level and experiences trace amounts of snow about once a decade and measurable amounts about once every two decades. Mountains in Los Angeles County may get snow as early as late October down to 7,000 feet and, by early December, down to 3,000 feet. By mid-April, snow rarely be found in the mountains below 7,000 foot, but may still remain on some peaks into the mid-summer.
|In a 24-Hour Period||In 1 month|
January 15, 1932
|Year||Month & Amount of Snowfall|
|1918||November 27 (trace)|
|1919||February 1 (trace), November 27 (trace)|
|1922||January 30 (trace), March 11 (trace)|
|1932||January 15 (2.0 inches)|
|1935||December 4 (trace)|
|1939||February 8 (trace)|
|1942||January 1 (trace), February 21 (trace)|
|1947||December 5 (trace)|
|1949||January 9 (trace), January 10 (trace), January 11 (0.3 inches)|
|1950||April 9 (0.2 inches)|
|1951||February 27 (trace), March 1 (trace)|
|1952||January 13 (trace), March 13 (trace), March 16 (trace), December 20 (trace)|
|1954||January 12 (0.3 inches), February 14 (trace)|
|1957||January 27 (trace)|
|1962||January 21 (trace), January 22 (trace)|
Source: National Weather Service
A video documenting images from the last big snowfall in Los Angeles.