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Snow in Los Angeles County

Snow, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, 1949

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 most of the population lives) is quite rare. Average low temperatures in the basin typically do not drop 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.

Snowstorm, Valencia, California, 1974

1974. In Valencia, just 30 miles north of Downtown Los Angeles, people help push a stalled truck off Magic Mountain Parkway during a snow storm.
Photo by John Malmin, LA Times Photographic Collection at UCLA Library.

The National Weather Service highlights area weather data in Downtown Los Angeles, at the Los Angeles International Airport, and in Long Beach. These locations, for reasons outlined above, rarely experience snow. However, 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 see snow down to 7,000 feet, as early as late October and, by early December, down to 3,000 feet. By mid-April, snow is rarely found in the mountains of Los Angeles County below 7,000 feet, but may still remain on some of the highest peaks into the mid-summer.

San Gabriel Mountains, Snow, 2019

San Gabriel Mountains layered with snow in December 2019. Los Angeles Almanac Photo.

Snowfall Record in Downtown Los Angeles

In a 24-Hour Period In 1 month
2.0 inches
January 15, 1932
2.0 inches
January 1932

Also see: Snowfall Records at Other Los Angeles County locations.

Snowfall Occurrences in Downtown Los Angeles Since 1877

Year Month & Amount of Snowfall
1879 December 27 (trace)
1882 January 12 (trace)
1884 February 14 (trace)
1902 January 29 (trace)
1906 December 31 (trace)
1913 February 19 (trace)
1915 December 30 (trace)
1916 December 26 (trace)
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

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1949 Snow Storm in Los Angeles

Snow in Los Angeles, January 1949