Snowfall in Santa Cruz mountains makes for 'winter wonderland'

Snow coated the Santa Cruz mountains Thursday, where upwards to half a foot is expected to fall.

Snow showers moved through the mountains in the overnight hours into the early morning, blanketing the mountain range and creating quite the spectacle.

"It’s beautiful. Winter wonderland. It’s kind of like Tahoe, but in Santa Cruz," said Capitola resident Marilyn L’Heurex.

L'Heurex and her and family made a pit-stop on Summit Road while on a trip to drop their daughter at school. They instead chose the friendliest form of conflict and conquest the California cold offers – a snowball fight.

"The trees are all dusted. The roofs have snow on the top. It’s beautiful," she said.

STORM COVERAGE: Snow sightings in San Jose, San Mateo County, Santa Cruz mountains

But the afternoon saw a transitional weather pattern as bright sunshine appeared, though only to give way to an approaching snow storm.

San Jose State University Climate Scientist Dr. Alison Bridger said more snow in the forecast. Three to seven inches of snow are predicted from Thursday through mid-morning Friday in elevations 2,500 feet and above.

But Bridger said there could be snowfall as far down as 500 feet above sea level.

"It’ll get really cold, and we’ll get some rain, and a solid snow dusting along the Mount Hamilton area and in the Santa Cruz mountains. I’m sure they’ll get snow up there," said Bridger.

The conditions are a clarion call for those who love the snow.

"Many people like to come up, play in the snow," said local real estate agent Mike Scherer.

Brendan McCann and his friend Adelmo Viloria were at the summit enjoying the unusual weather Thursday with their dogs.

"I called him, and I was like, ‘I’ll be at your house in 10 minutes. It’s snowing on (Highway) 17," said McCann.

Minutes later, the pair engaged in a game of fetch using a snowball.

"Snowing 20 minutes away from home is kinda weird, living at the beach," said Vilorai.

While the snow is visually appealing, it can make for treacherous travel along mountain roads.

The California Highway Patrol advised motorists to stay off the roads and indoors if possible. 

Jesse Gary is a reporter based in the station's South Bay bureau. Follow him on Twitter, @JesseKTVU and Instagram, @jessegontv.