msnbc.com staff and news service reports
updated 2/26/2011 6:22:50 PM ET 2011-02-26T23:22:50

Snow fell overnight in the highest reaches of San Francisco, but the Bay area dodged the heavier flurries forecasters had been expecting, the weather service said on Saturday.

No snow was observed in downtown San Francisco and AccuWeather.com meteorologist Dave Samuhel said the dusting would not count toward official records that show the last measurable snowfall in the area 35 years ago.

  1. Partner links
    1. Top stories
    2. Severe alerts
    3. Pollen hot spots
    4. Airport delays
    5. Rush hour traffic

Northern California did experience record low temperatures overnight in several cities.

San Francisco got down to 37 degrees, which tied the previous cold weather record for this day set in 1962, said Chris Stumpf, meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

San Jose tied a record low of 33 degrees set way back in 1897, and Oakland got down to 34 degrees, breaking a record set in 1987.

"It was definitely cold enough, but it didn't have the precipitation that we needed to get any of the snow showers that we were hoping for," Stumpf said.

"It looks like it's clearing out right now, and we'll start to warm up as we go through the week," he said.

Earlier, the possibility of such a rare weather event sparked buzz around the city.

One blogger posted a pretend ski map, noting possible beginner, intermediate and expert runs in the city's hilly Bernal Heights neighborhood. A newly created website — isitsnowinginsfyet.com — also offered a simple answer for anyone who was wondering.

The San Francisco Chronicle posted old photos of snow from 1882, 1951, 1964 and other rare instances of city snowfall — including one photo from the 1976 storm that shows gleeful schoolkids throwing snowballs.

The Twin Peaks area of San Francisco, where elevations are about 900 feet above sea level, received a dusting of snow, and there were also reports of light snow in Los Gatos, a town near San Jose, and the Santa Cruz Mountains, Stumpf said.

In southern California, two inches of snow fell along the Grapevine section of the Golden State Freeway north of Los Angeles, but the passage remained open to traffic, said Ryan Kittell, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

Meteorologists had been forecasting that snow could fall as low as 1,000 feet above sea level and dust the Hollywood sign on Mount Lee above Los Angeles, which would have been a pristine sight with the Academy Awards happening on Sunday.

  1. Only on NBCNews.com
    1. OWN via Getty Images
      From belief to betrayal: How America fell for Armstrong
    2. pool via Reuters file
      US to Syria neighbors: Be ready to act on WMDs
    3. China: One-child policy is here to stay
    4. NRA: Practice Range
      New 'Practice Range' shooter game says it’s from NRA
    5. 'Gifted' priest indicted in crystal meth case
    6. AFP - Getty Images
      China's state media admits to air pollution crisis
    7. AFP - Getty Images
      French to send 1,000 more troops to Mali

Snow did not reach as low at the Hollywood Sign, but it did dust the cities of Palmdale and Lancaster north of Los Angeles, before quickly melting, Kittell said.

Up to 3 inches of rain fell in parts of the mountains and foothills of Los Angeles County overnight and small hail hit valley areas on Saturday morning, but the rain is expected to clear out in time for the Academy Awards ceremony on Sunday.

This week's storm has already dumped more than 2 feet of snow in the Sierra Nevada, and forecasters said more than 3 feet could fall in the highest elevations by the end of the weekend.

This article contains reporting from Reuters, The Associated Press and msnbc.com staff.

Discuss:

Discussion comments

,