Nature

Snow forecast for Berkeley — really?

“The snow icon?” “In Berkeley?” asks Berkeleysider Emily Cohen as she checks the weather forecast on her cell phone (above).

Think it’s really going to happen? If so, will it be limited to the hills, or might we see some white stuff on the flats? If there’s anyone who remembers significant snowfall in Berkeley, let us know — better still send in photos.

Update, 10:22: OK. The data is already coming in. Thanks to Dave Gilson, who points us to a rather wonderful 1905 pamphlet titled “Berkeley — California: A City of Homes“, we know now that at that time there had only been four “slight falls of snow in 28 years, each one barely covering the ground and remaining only a few hours”. (We also learn that homes could be bought for $1,500-$10,000 and that “the moral cleanliness of the city is one of its most characteristic features”.

Update, 02.26.11: As we write this on Saturday afternoon, a day for which snow was forecast, it looks like it may be a case of the snow that never was. So let’s reminisce. Berkeleysider Richard Corten sent in the captioned photos below of the “snows of yesteryear”:


Early February, 1976, in North Berkeley at slightly above 500 feet from sea level: John Corten, age right around 2, watched the first snow of his life fall on his deck --- and mostly melt. Higher up, the hills were blanketed. (Photo by Peg Skorpinski, his mom)
December, 2008: Mocha Chip Corten tracked frozen scents along the paved road up Vollmer Peak (elevation 1,761 feet at the top) in Tilden Park (above the Golden Gate Live Steamers, alias the Little Train) during her second full-scale exposure to snow. The first time, years earlier (not shown), she chewed through a leash in a trice and took off for an utterly madcap gambol in the bizarre stuff. (Photos by Dick Corten, John's dad and Mocha's slave)