Snow Like 1976

OK, so we had our “False Spring” in Silly Con Valley. What comes next is usually a bit more cold rain, then some warmer April Showers (though some years they come in March). Then true spring and everyone is planting tomatoes starting in about early / mid April.

Not this time.

From Wunderground, we have this prediction:

Friday Night

Mostly cloudy in the evening then becoming partly cloudy. A chance of showers and snow showers. Lows in the lower 30s. Northwest winds 5 to 10 mph. Chance of precipitation 50 percent.


Mostly cloudy. A chance of showers and snow showers. Highs in the lower 40s.

Now, for all you folks suffering under feet of snow “back east”, that sounds like a really nice forcast. For San Jose, it’s almost unheard of.

From the Wiki:

The snow level drops as low as 2,000 ft (610 m) above sea level, or lower, occasionally coating nearby Mount Hamilton, and less frequently the Santa Cruz Mountains, with snow that normally lasts a few days. This sometimes snarls traffic traveling on State Route 17 towards Santa Cruz.

Got that? It will get down to 2000 feet in the mountains and we get to watch it from here.

Snow rarely falls in San Jose, but until recently, the most recent snow to remain on the ground was on February 5, 1976, when many residents around the city saw as much as 3 inches (7.6 cm) on car and roof tops. The official observation station measured only 0.5-inch (13 mm) of snow. However, in March 2006, a smaller amount, up to one inch (2.5 cm) of snow fell in downtown San Jose as well as other areas around the city at elevations of only 90 feet (27 m) to 200 feet (61 m) above sea level.

So we have a “90 foot elevation” snow in 2006, just after the cold phase started. Last snow actually IN San Jose at the lower elevation of downtown? 1976. 30 years earlier.

Two takeaway points:

1) This is an absolutely normal event that happens every few decades. It is NOT signs of catastrophe.

2) If we’d had 30 to 60 years of “Global Warming” it would not be happening. We are measuring the impact in tens of feet ( 90 vs Sea Level) and finding not a bit of change toward warmer (meaning higher elevations of snow). Rare events are still reaching the ground, and most of the time it’s about 2000 foot snow line.

There is no “Global Warming” in San Jose… but there is a 60 year weather cycle changing regimes.

I would note, though, that having two snow events (even if one did stop at 90 ft elevation) inside 5 years is very unusual. A couple of more of these and I’ll think were getting colder… IMHO, this is a manifestation of the ‘squashed’ atmosphere where the thickness has been reduced. The freezing layers get pushed down closer to the ground.

In summary: How do I know it’s not warmer? Because for the first time since 1978 (when I moved here) I’m going off to the local nursery to investigate “cloches” and “frost row covers”… (During our “false spring” I went ahead and started some “8 Ball” or Ronde du Nice squash and some of the giant purple pod bean seeds. Now I either get to do frost protection or I get to pot them on and continue growing them inside the house…

So when you are in “Sunny” San Jose and looking at Snow at sea level for the first time in 35 years, well, that’s not “Global Warming”, that’s just cold…

I’m putting a North America Freeze Level map here so it’s easy for me, and you, to keep tabs on what’s happening.

Current Feeze Levels in The USA

Current Feeze Levels in The USA

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
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8 Responses to Snow Like 1976

  1. Larry Geiger says:

    Are you in Florida right now? Did you come out for the launch?

  2. Thanks for the reminder about the discrepancy between observations and model predictions.

    Comments on two recent blogs of Professor Curry suggest that the Climategate dam may now be disintegration, as more and more idealistic environmentalists realize that they have been misled:

    With kind regards,
    Oliver K. Manuel

  3. E.M.Smith says:

    @Larry Geiger:

    Nope. I’m going to try again for “the last one”…. I had stuff here that needed tending.

    @Oliver K. Manuel:

    Nothing like a little “reality check” from time to time to remind folks what’s real…

    Somehow, I think “Hide The Decline” is going to be the iconic description of “climate science” in the 20th century when this is all over… May the 21st be better done…

    Like others, I’m secretly hoping that it turns out that the tree rings were spot on accurate and “the decline” was the truth while the “hockey stick” temperatures were the result of instumentation and processing “errors”…. Things like putting them on the tarmac at Phoenix Sky Harbor (where it’s been 123 F or so… not your typical place… They shut the airport down for a few hours as the tarmac ‘skirts’ had softend to the point that aircraft were starting to sink into it… I was in Phoenix when they did that. The local radio announced the shutdown, and why.)

    So now we’ve got snow forcast for here. I’ll be watching the thermometers at the airport, too, IFF it actually does snow. It would be interesting to try to rectify snow on the ground with an, oh, 35 F temperature reading…. ;-)

  4. pascvaks says:

    Just can’t figure out why there are so many colors on the scale to the map, they could sure say much more with less variation –especially at the lower altitudes.

  5. Malaga View says:

    Takes me back to 1973… or there abouts…

  6. E.M.Smith says:

    Well, the cold decendeth…

    Looks like it’s dropped from about 8000 ft to 4000 ft over me (from a dark blue yesterday to magenta today). One more of those and I’m in ‘freezing at ground level’ land…

    Stepping outside it feels like it to…


    But it wouldn’t be as pretty ;-)

  7. Curt says:

    The weather forecast in LA this morning predicted snow down to 1000 ft in the southern California mountains tomorrow night. We’ve had frost virtually every morning this week.

  8. E.M.Smith says:

    The back yard patio thermometer reports below freezing.

    At this point, if we get any precipitation, it will be snow.

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