It's May. And There Will Be SNOW In SoCal's Mountains This Weekend
If you already booked your holiday weekend stay in the mountains, thinking you'd be lounging in the sun by a lake or camping in a relatively-pleasant (not freezing) climate, you're about to get a rude awakening.
As storms continue to bring rain to Los Angeles, Southern California's mountains are seeing an unusual burst of late spring snow. Yes, snow. In MAY.
Big Bear has already accumulated 5 to 6 inches of powder heading into Memorial Day, according to Justin Kanton, the media manager for Snow Summit and Bear Mountain, even though the slopes closed in April. More snow is in the forecast for Sunday, with lows of 29 degrees. Not exactly camping weather.
When did it snow last in May for Big Bear Lake? May 2, 2018 had Big Bear lake reported 1.5 inches. May 7, 2017 reported 1 inch snow. May 8, 2015 had 3.3 inches. 1998 big snowstorm in mid May. Latest season is June 6, 1993 with 0.5 snow at Big Bear lake. Photo @bensweather pic.twitter.com/T8AfrCENNO— NWS San Diego (@NWSSanDiego) May 20, 2019
Farther north, Mammoth and Squaw Valley are getting even more snow. So, if you were thinking about skiing/snowboarding this summer, you're in luck. Mammoth Mountain just announced that its slopes will be open until August.
It's actually been the snowiest May on record for Mammoth Mountain -- the resort got 29 inches this month.
Wrightwood's Mountain High resort currently has a base snow depth of 12 inches, with a forecast of snow on Sunday (and a low of 44 degrees during the day and 31 after the sun goes down).
This level of rain and snow is not unheard of for Southern California, said Ryan Kittell with the National Weather Service, but storms this late in the spring usually only come every 5 to 10 years.
"It is fairly unusual to see precipitation at the end of May for Southern California," he said.
The recent snow at Big Bear delayed the start of the resort's spring and summer season by a day. Tomorrow will kick off a possibly ill-timed transition to non-snow activities like hiking and mountain biking.
Having snow on the ground could mean fewer guests for the start of the season, said Kanton, who expects that to change once the weather warms up.
"As soon as the snow starts to melt, I'm sure we'll see the visitation pick up throughout the summer months," Kanton said. "We expect to have a really great summer, we're just waiting for Mother Nature to cooperate with us a little bit."
The wet winter could mean a strong summer tourism season for Big Bear Lake. The lake's water levels there rose above 62 feet in May, the highest they've been in five years, said Eddie Kirsch with the Big Bear Visitors Bureau. And the full lake is finally drawing crowds boaters and fishers.
"We have a trout tournament in June, and we've already seen about triple the sign ups for that this year so I think people are very excited about being on the lake," he said.