We saw it blowing in across the mountains Friday, May 23, but who could believe it? After record heat for Lilac Festival weekend, suddenly winter was back for Memorial Day. In Cuddy Valley, Don Eubank snapped ?White Christmas? shots: ?Wow, summer was really short,? he wrote (bottom left). In Pine Mountain, Joey (bottom right) decided maybe it was time to get out of this white stuff. Telephone lines crackled across the valleys: ?Look out the window! Do you see it? Is this really possible?? Thomas (top right) a Memorial Weekend family camper at El Camino Pines Lutheran Camp tried to catch snowflakes on his tongue and other campers (top left) laughed and dashed inside.
"It was a short summer!" Don Eubank laughed as he clicked photos of the snow tumbling around his Cuddy valley home Friday, May 23.
Snow dusted the top of Frazier Mountain, and Mt. Pinos was engulfed in a glorious tower of gray clouds, rimmed gold by sunlight.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s weather advisories for the past week tell some of the background.
Lilac Festival weekend began with high pressure over the West Coast bringing warm and dry weather to California.
This pattern didn’t last long however, as an unusually strong late season storm system moved into the region.
High winds fanned wildfires during the mid part of the week. Firefighters from Lebec’s Station 56 helped with the blaze in the Santa Cruz Mountains.
The strongest gusts occurred on Wednesday and Thursday, but gusty wind persisted through the rest of the week at many locations. The upper level low passed through into the Great Basin by Thursday, but then did an unusual reversal, moving westward back over California by the weekend.
As the low moved back over the state on Saturday, temperatures dropped and widespread showers fell.
Measurable rain was reported across the Central Valley and along the coast. Snow fell over the higher elevations of the mountains of Central and Northern California.
By Saturday our mountainous Grapevine section of Interstate 5 remained open, but California Highway Patrol officers were zigzagging across the wet lanes to slow traffic.
Rain even fell across the southeastern deserts.
Cool and breezy weather continued through the following week, as the low pressure remained over the Golden State.
The Fickle Month of May
We’ve been seduced by recent heat,
To plant vegetables and flowers.
Now tracks are left by boot-clad feet,
In snow, not springtime showers.
"Quick! Cover the plants"
I call to my spouse,
"We’ll save them if we hurry."
Yards of fabric came out of the house,
And we scrambled in the flurries.
Finally finished, we heaved a sigh,
And stretched our tired muscles.
The plants were now snug in their beds .
Back to the house we shuffled.
Then suddenly the sun appeared!
I wanted to scream and shout,
"All our years of living here,
And we still haven’t figured it out!"
This is part of the May 30, 2008 online edition of The Mountain Enterprise.
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