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December 16th, 2008

Does it ever snow here in Palo Alto, California?  It’s rare, but the answer is yes:

Snow in Palo Alto, CA

Okay, okay.  While technically true, this photo is a bit misleading.  It’s a real, unmanipulated photo taken this afternoon.  The catch is that it wasn’t in downtown Palo Alto.  Instead, it was taken on Skyline Boulevard, near the intersection with Page Mill Road:

Snow on Skyline Boulevard in the Santa Cruz Mountains near Stanford, Palo Alto, and San Francisco.

That’s about 7–8 miles from the Stanford central campus.  The key is that the elevation difference is more than 2100 feet.  Nothing but rain fell below about 1800 feet.

Roughly 3–4 inches of heavy, wet snow were on the ground, providing a source of great delight for the Californians and this Minnesotan.   Kids were sledding, teens were having snowball fights, and the adults were all smiles.  Hard to say what the animals thought:

Bird in the snow.  Palo Alto, CA

Has it ever snowed at Stanford?  I can’t seem to find any definitive data one way or the other, but I have to believe that it’s possible.  Maybe I’ll get lucky enough to see it this year.

  1. Thomas Harvey
    December 17th, 2008 at 03:13 | #1

    I lived in Palo Alto from 1960-1969 and it did snow once both downtown and at Stanford. I can’t be sure of the year, but I think it was around 1963, but I can’t be sure.

  2. james
    February 6th, 2011 at 10:47 | #2

    Feb 5th, 1976. 1-3″ of snow fell throughout Palo Alto and other bay area cities. 3 women built a snowman in White Plaza. School started late that day!. also, it snowed in 1962, Jan 1.


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