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Snow in Los Angeles County

Snow at Jet Propulsion Laboratory, La Cañada Flintridge, January 1949. Photo courtesy of NASA/JPL Archive.

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.

Snowfall Records in Downtown Los Angeles

In a 24-Hour Period In 1 month
A bit more than 0.3 inches
January 10-11, 1949
A bit more than 0.3 inches
January 1949

Latest Incidents of Snowfall
Los Angeles International Airport, Downtown Los Angeles, Long Beach

Location Amount Date
Los Angeles Intl. Airport
(in 24 hours)
trace (less than 0.1 inches) March 27, 1991
Downtown Los Angeles
(in 24 hours)
trace (less than 0.1 inches) January 22, 1962
Long Beach Airport
(in 24 hours)
trace (less than 0.1 inches) February 25, 1996

Snowfall Occurrences Since 1921
In Downtown Los Angeles

Year Month & Amount of Snowfall
1922 January 30 (trace), March 11 (trace)
1932 January 15 (2.0 inches)
1935 December 4 (trace)
1947 December 5 (trace)
1949 January 9 (trace), 10 (trace), 11 (slightly more than 0.3 inches)
1950 April 9 (0.2 inches)
1951 February 27 (trace), March 1 (trace)
1952 January (trace), March (trace), December (trace)
1954 January (0.3 inches), February (trace)
1957 January 12 (0.3 inces)
1962 January 21 (trace), 22 (trace)

Source: National Weather Service

L.A. Video

L.A. Videos
1949 Snow Storm in Los Angeles

Snow in Los Angeles, January 1949

A video documenting images from the last big snowfall in Los Angeles.