Claremont Sees Snow for the First Time in Years

On the morning of Thursday, Feb. 21, many residents of Claremont were shocked to check their weather apps and see something they have likely never seen before: a 70% chance of snow in the afternoon. Though the eventual snow would last only a few minutes, it would spark fascination among most residents. In some areas of Los Angeles county, including Claremont, the last time such weather has occurred was decades ago. Such inconsistency has brought up multiple questions among confused residents.
Snow was last seen in Downtown Los Angeles in January 1962, according to Los Angeles Public Library archives. But before then, it was relatively common throughout LA county. According to a 1949 photograph of Scripps College as seen in the Claremont Colleges Photo Archive, Claremont experienced a significant amount of lasting snow on a regular basis throughout fall and winter.
Some are stressing that this inconsistent extreme weather is a clear effect of climate change. However, climate scientist Daniel Swain reports otherwise.
“Rising average temperatures are absolutely to blame for the fact that the LA region sees less annual snowfall than it used to, but climate change is not responsible for Thursday’s snow event,” Swain said. “This week’s storm was also not one of the Pacific-based, moisture-charged winter storms fueled by high ocean temperatures- those atmospheric river events which have a new scale to categorize their strength. Instead, it was a frigid, dry air mass with very little moisture that came from the north.”
The snowfall itself was probably not a direct result of climate change, and conversely is probably an event that is becoming even less likely, according to Swain. This is likely why Claremont and other areas of Los Angeles County have nearly a feet of snow to their residents wondering what the “powdery white stuff” on the ground is. In fact, snowfall may become so rare in the wake of climate change that a day of snow in Claremont may be unique to one’s lifetime.
By the morning of Feb. 22., the sun had melted away most of the snow seen the day before. But despite the snow being long gone, the memories of Claremont’s first snow day in decades will not be anytime soon.