Snow continues falling on Bay Area

December 16, 2008 7:21:38 PM PST
Tuesday's snowfall gave Santa Clara residents a downy white snowpack in which to play.

For some of them it was the first time they ever saw snow.

Several inches of snow fell on the Santa Cruz Mountains above Saratoga and Los Gatos.

The snow and icy conditions caused a few spinouts and even closed a road for a short time. But, after a Cal Trans snowplow came through many living nearby rushed up to play.

For some, it was a totally new experience.

Tuesday's snowfall at the Saratoga Gap, just above Saratoga, became a magnet for parents who wanted to give their children their first touch of snow.

Building snowmen became a family affair at the summit. Twins Hattie and Eliza Christian helped build their first snowman.

"This is their first time. They're three-and-a-half years old. We came up for the day just to let them play in the snow," said Ben Christian of Los Gatos.

The Christians and others who wanted to frolic in the fresh snowfall were able to come up Highway 9 after Cal Trans cleared about 4 inches of snow off the roads leading to the summit.

There were several spinouts before the junction of Highways 35 and 9 was cleared, but no injuries were reported.

The sight of new snow was such a draw that it brought Channtaou Seth, newly-arrived from Cambodia, up the mountain from Cupertino.

"I like it, my first time. I used to tell my uncle to bring it for me but he said no, I cannot bring it to you. I see it. I play with it. I'm so happy!" she exclaimed.

Tuesday evening rangers began advising people to get off the mountain as fog rolled in and temperatures began dropping.

Parts of the Berkeley Hills are covered in white as well after it snowed there throughout the day.

On some parts of the hill there was barely enough snow to stick to the ground. In more remote areas of Tilden Park there was so much snow one man even took his skies out, according to neigbors.

The Berkeley Hills Area is better known for high fire danger than snow. But on Tuesday there was a better chance of freezing than flames near Tilden Park.

The question on everyone's mind was, "When was the last time it snowed this much?"

"Over in Montclair, gosh, probably five years ago, we saw some snow. We got excited just with a little tiny puddle of snow," said Kristine Kopchik of Oakland.

You need more than just a puddle to make a snowball and there was plenty of that to go around.

It was a good day for dog walking, but an even better day to do all the things snow-starved Bay Area residents do not usually get to do. It was also the best kind of day to play hookie, like Jorah and his dad Sach Constantine did.

"You can't tell, but he's home with a fever right now," said Sach talking about his son.

The white tree tops reminded the East Coast natives of home. The Berkeley resident had been missing the white winters, sort of.

Asked how this Bay Area winter compared to those back home Constantine replied, "Not quite. Not quite the same thing. The cold feels the same. I guess I'm getting a little soft out here in California weather."

People could still be seen wearing shorts and sandals. You just cannot take the California out of some people.

The highest elevations of the Bay Area got another good dusting of snow Tuesday as well.

A couple additional inches of snow fell overnight on the summit of Mount Diablo which is located at 3800 feet above sea level, bringing the total there to about eight inches.

People wanting to visit the summit had problems with access because rangers closed the road at a much-lower elevation than they did Monday.

It was a well-earned sled ride down from the summit on Mount Diablo for many, including the Elucey family of Oakland.

Glenn and Adrienne Lucey took their two girls out of school for the day and hiked for two hours, more than four miles, to get to all the snow near Mount Diablo's 3800-foot summit.

"They're very sick. They were coughing and had high fevers this morning. And, so we thought we better cool them down a little bit and get them up here," said Glenn Lucey.

"We knew it was going to be snowy and we did this last year. So it's kind of an annual tradition to have a day of hookie when it snows on Mount Diablo. Don't tell anybody," added Adrienne Lucey.

They basically had the mountain to themselves because unlike Monday, rangers closed the road to the public at Junction Ranger Station, located at 2200 feet.

"We're concerned about ice and snow on the road from that point on. And, we're going to evaluate as time goes by," said Dan Stefanisko with Mount Diablo State Park.

So anyone who wanted to play in the snow had to work for it.

When asked about how far he had to hike to go sledding Brian Busemeyer replied, "It was worth it though. It's great up here. Definitely a lot of snow."

The Lucey family came prepared. Others did not.

ABC7 asked Steve Mercer if he was going to rethink the tennis shoes he wore the next time he went up the mountain.

"Yes, and definitely the socks. You should see my ankle. It's a little red," he said.

Fortunately, the Luceys came through with a spare pair of thick, dry socks.

"There you go. That'll be a hundred dollars," they jokingly told him.

The best advice for people who want to enjoy the snow on Mount Diablo is to check for road closures first.

Tuesday evening the road was open up to the Junction Ranger Station, where people were being asked to park and walk the next 4.5 miles to the summit.

If conditions warm up Wednesday rangers may completely open the road.

Bay Area severe weather resources

Watch raw video from SKY7-HD of snow on mountains near Livermore and Mt. Hamilton.


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