On the weekend of January 23rd, a weather system brought snow to Malibu California for the first time in 14 years. Areas that would usually be pictured as warm summer-esque environments, including the Grand Canyon, were blanketed with snow. Accuweather reported hail spotted across Los Angeles and Oxnard, California. The Los Angeles Times reported that multiple drivers stopped and parked their cars near the Malibu Canyon Tunnel to play in the snow.
The storm traveled east to Arizona, granting many residents with a rare or first-time experience. “This is my first time seeing snow, or touching it because in Arizona there is nothing but desert,” Maria Mendez from Yuma, Arizona told USA Today. The intense weather system threatened to dump several inches of rain in mountain locations that had suffered from the fires of late summer, raising the risk of debris flow and prompting Cal Fire to issue evacuation orders for many parts of Santa Cruz County.
Locally, Chicago saw a total of 10.8 inches this past weekend at the O’Hare International Airport observing site. The Chicago National Weather Service reported that this was the largest snowfall event in five-years, with November of 2015 receiving 11.2 inches of snow.
The National Weather Service went on to predict that two storm systems would hit half the country with snow and rain. Coronavirus testing centers in Nebraska and Iowa, as well as vaccination sites in New York City, had to close early because of the snow. More than 17 inches fell in Manhattan’s Central Park and as many as 30 inches were reported in New Jersey.