Snow in San Francisco? Mild cities don't escape winter storm

Snow, ice and shivering cold blasted normally mild cities from Seattle to Las Vegas to San Francisco on Tuesday as winter weather sweeping across the U.S. West shuttered schools, made travel treacherous and closed all roads in Yosemite National Park.

And temps were expected to be chilly on Wednesday as well. Temps were in the 30s and 40s throughout the Bay Area before the sun came up. Frost streaked parked cars and outreach workers were trying to help get the homeless off the streets.

The National Weather Service said the mercury would likely rise to the 50s later in the day. Rain is expected on Friday and then again on Sunday. 

Download our new weather app

Winter storms have been hitting the West for several days and brought a surprise dusting to peaks overlooking San Francisco - the city's first notable snow in eight years. Snow also piled higher at ski resorts, closing runs in Lake Tahoe and the California mountains as snow reached 7 to 10 feet since Saturday.

"We don't get snow up here in the area," said Jess Moseley, who traveled from the San Francisco Bay Area to snowy Mount Diablo State Park 40 miles  away. "You have to go to Tahoe or wherever to play in the snow. So we just came up to see if it was still here, and it is."

In the Pacific Northwest, lows plunged into the teens in Seattle, making roads slick and closing schools throughout the area for a second day. Unusual snow fell a day earlier, causing crashes and canceling flights, and lower-than-normal temperatures were expected throughout the week.

Rare snow and cold also walloped Portland, Oregon, where it shut schools and left some higher elevation roads slick.

Lake Tahoe-area ski resorts celebrated the biggest storm of the season, with 3 feet (1 meter) recorded over 24 hours. That brought the total to about 7 feet (2 meters) at Heavenly Ski Resort and Kirkwood Mountain Resort since Saturday. But so much snow fell, they could only open limited trails.

About 120 miles south, Mammoth Mountain Resort reported 10 feet of snow since Saturday and closed all but a few trails.

Yosemite's ski area also shut down, while restaurants had shorter hours and shuttles were not running because of snow-covered roads.

"It's beautiful and we certainly need the snow, but we're asking people to stay indoors," park spokesman Scott Gediman said.

California is still recovering from a drought that led to tight water restrictions and contributed to severe wildfires.