Winter finally arrives with Anza’s first snowfall

A majestic view of Cahuilla Mountain’s south side, sports a coat of white Tuesday, Feb. 27. Diane Sieker photo

The morning of Tuesday, Feb. 27, dawned cold, crisp and white. Much to the delight of mountain residents, the beautiful snowfall created fun and a slew of wonderful photo opportunities.

According to Alex Tardy of the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration and the National Weather Service, San Diego, Anza received an average of 2 to 5 inches of snow, sleet and hail. Temperatures dipped into the low 30s and scattered precipitation continued to fall throughout the day.

Snow began blanketing Riverside County’s mountains in the overnight hours as rain drenched the Riverside metropolitan area and other low-elevation parts of the county as the first of two winter storms began pounding
Southern California.

Chain controls were mandated by the California Highway Patrol for state Route 371 east of Anza and state Routes 74 and 243 near Mountain Center for much of Tuesday.

In the mountains, including the Idyllwild-Pine Cove area, a winter storm warning – signifying severe winter weather, heavy snow and hazardous travel conditions – went into effect at 7 p.m. Monday, according to the NWS. The weather service urged drivers to use extra caution while traveling and to be alert for areas of low visibility.

“If you must travel, keep an extra flashlight, food and water in your vehicle in case of an emergency,” the NWS said in reports.

With snow levels dropping to around 2,000 feet Tuesday morning, NWS meteorologists and other officials also worried about snow piling up on highways that don’t usually get the white stuff. In Anza, however, it was business as usual as animals frolicked in the white stuff, children and adults made snowmen and snow angels and Mother Nature’s surprise was shared throughout the valley.

City News Service contributed to this story.

Diane Sieker can be reached by email at

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