Climate Change Hits Los Angeles—First Blizzard Warning in Decades Issued for Tinseltown

Kiichiro Sato
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The first blizzard warning in decades has been issued for Los Angeles by the National Weather Service.

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Allow me to repeat that: The first blizzard warning in decades has been issued for Los Angeles by the National Weather Service. I just wanted to write it twice so you’d know you read it correctly the first time.

The warning was issued as a huge winter storm threatens as many as 22 states, with 35 million people currently under ice or winter storm warnings.

In Southern California, a blizzard could come as soon as 4 a.m. Friday:

The theme park Magic Mountain in Valencia, CA (33 miles North of LA) shut its doors Thursday morning before the main storm even arrived. From Deadline:

Magic Mountain sits at about 1,150 feet above sea level. Its Goliath roller coaster, for example, climbs 235 feet in the air, and with winds there at 37 mph, per the National Weather Service, and 70 mph at nearby (but much higher) Magic Mountain Truck Trail, one gets the sense of how added elevation increases wind velocity in the region.

“I have to be totally honest with you guys,” a California meteorologist said this week. “I’ve actually never seen a blizzard warning.”

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Jeff Napier, an official with the Del Norte County Schools District, which is in Northern California and is also getting hit, told the Los Angeles TImes: “This is the first snow day we have had in the 31 years I have been with the district.”

On Thursday, snow had already begun falling in some LA locations:

There was even a light dusting of snow near the Hollywood sign!

As for the higher elevations and ski resorts, officials are warning that this is a time to play it safe:

“This is not a weekend you’re going to be able to go up and ski — no one is going to be able to get in or out, potentially for days,” UCLA climate scientist Daniel Swain said. “And so if you live up there, be prepared for a phenomenal amount of snow. And if you don’t live up there, realize you’re not going to be getting up there.”

In weather events like this, information is changing constantly. As of this writing, Weather.com is showing a 100 percent chance of precipitation for both Friday and Saturday in the SoCal area. Although it’s fun to conjecture about the streets of Hollywood covered in snow, it’s still unlikely, although white powder could hit the surrounding mountains and hills and more could land on the Hollywood sign, which sits at about 1,600 feet.

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The last time that happened was in 1939.

And now, we interrupt this weather report for a Major Sarcasm Alert:

This weather anomaly is almost certainly not caused by “weather,” but instead by man-made climate change caused by Southern California residents’ use of gas-powered lawnmowers and SUVs—and probably even non-electric stoves. It has nothing to do with India or China. If it is unusually cold, or unusually warm, the likely culprit is man-made climate change. If we build more windmills and solar panels, we can stop future snow in La-La-Land.

Al Gore has yet to weigh in on this devastating storm, but we’ll update you as soon as he does.

The sarcasm portion of this article has now officially ended.

In all seriousness, this weekend’s storms look powerful and will affect a lot of people. Stay safe, and stay warm.

Update: Clarified that Del Norte School District is in Northern California.

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