It snowed in Dallas, why not here? (Photo: Timothy A Clary/AFP/Getty)

Update Feb 24: Snow photos — Sacramento version

Update Feb 23: More Bay Area snow photos

The Chronicle blog The Poop had a great post last week in which Peter Hartlaub went back into the paper’s archives and pulled out some awesome photos from the rare times it’s snowed in San Francisco. Check them out here, here, here, here (1887); and here and here (1951); and here, here, and here (1962); and here (1976). The full post provides locations and other info.

This brings to mind my first winter in San Francisco — 1990. It got so cold I wondered whether I’d been seriously misled about the weather out here. The temperature dropped enough that it actually snowed somewhere nearby — not sure where. I remember it well because they made such a big deal out of it on the news, showing kids touching the stuff with a reverence usually saved for moon rocks. It was then I realized just how seldom the white stuff falls from the sky. So seldom, in fact, that we have to manufacture it so the kids can get a taste. Hartlaub’s post says it’s snowed in the city only a handful of times since 1887.

But this morning, the Santa Rosa Press Democrat ran this headline: It might snow in San Francisco — and here.

From the article:

After last week’s rain and light snow, the North Coast will have a short dry break early this week, but the moisture will return by Thursday with snow by the end of the week.

“It looks like it will be a pretty cold system with snow again at the higher peaks in the area and possibly in lower elevations than last time,” he said.

How low?

“One of our forecasters is saying the snow level could go so low we could possibly see snow in downtown San Francisco, which hasn’t happened since 1976,” Cross said.


Doing a little web surfing, I found some San Francisco snow photos of my own. Here’s one from a site that claims the shot was taken at 33rd and California in 1932. And here’s a much clearer shot of one of the 1887 photos Hartlaub found.

And here’s JT Snow. But I guess that doesn’t count.

This 2005 Metafilter thread on the question “When did it last snow in Fan Francisco?” also has some good Bay Area snow-related links and reminiscences, including these:

When it Snowed in San Francisco: The Photos 24 February,2011Jon Brooks


Jon Brooks

Jon Brooks is the host and editor of KQED’s health and technology blog, Future of You. He is the former editor of KQED’s daily news blog, News Fix. A veteran blogger, he previously worked for Yahoo! in various news writing and editing roles. He was also the editor of, which documented user-generated content about the financial crisis and recession. Jon is also a playwright whose work has been produced in San Francisco, New York, Italy, and around the U.S. He has written about film for his own blog and studied film at Boston University. He has an MFA in Creative Writing from Brooklyn College.

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