It’s still technically summer — the autumnal equinox doesn’t arrive until 4:02 p.m. ET Friday.
It was a tad unusual then to see it snowing Thursday in the Sierra Nevada, the mountain range that is shared by California and Nevada. It usually doesn’t snow there for about another month.
Some areas got a dusting, but others got several inches of snow and the plows were called out to clear roads.
Snow and hail contributed to a 16-vehicle crash on Interstate 80 near Cisco Grove, Calif. One man was killed and others were treated for minor injuries.
“This is the earliest we’ve had this kind of snowfall,” Liza Whitmore of the California Department of Transportation told SFGate, the website of the San Francisco Chronicle. “Last year, the first big snowfall wasn’t until the end of October. It’s always a challenge.”
The Associated Press reports:
“Snow dusted peaks in Yosemite National Park, briefly closing Tioga Pass road, the soaring eastern entry to the park that typically doesn’t become impassable until mid-November. Park rangers urged drivers to remain cautious after the road reopened.
“Fog and clouds along the route covered most of the mountain peaks and steam rose from lakes in some areas, prompting drivers to stop frequently to take photos.
“Snow also fell in Mammoth Lakes on Thursday evening, creating slick roads and giving the popular ski resort town more of a winter look than one reflecting the last day of summer.”
The preview of winter isn’t expected to stick around; temperatures will begin to climb. But while the snow is on the ground, it’s getting skiers and resorts excited about the upcoming season.
At Sugar Bowl, a ski resort perched atop Donner Summit, resort spokesman Jon Slaughter told The Associated Press, “We’ve got people calling about season passes and checking our webcams to take a look at the first snow.”
After years of drought, last winter was good to resort areas. Sugar Bowl, for example, got nearly 800 inches of snow.