Imagine visiting San Diego in December hoping to escape the doldrums of winter to relax in warmth and sunshine, but instead finding the very thing you wished to avoid...snow!
It happened 44 years ago on Dec. 13, 1967, as a powerful storm dropped temperatures low enough so that snowflakes were flying in one of America's most snow-resistant cities.
Some local children could even play in the snow that day, according to one resident who experienced the unusual event firsthand.
"There were some places around the city where kids managed to sled," a resident told VoiceofSanDiego.org.
Saying this was a rare occurrence might be an understatement larger than the city of San Diego itself.
Only five times over the last 130 years of record-keeping has snow fallen in the city itself. The last time any flakes stuck was during the 1967 event.
The warming influence of the Pacific Ocean keeps the weather of San Diego relatively consistent throughout the year, with temperatures rarely dropping low enough to even support the white stuff.
Snow is even unusual in the hills outside of the city, which were turned white that day in 1967, including in El Cajon. The mountains east of San Diego, which typically get snow every year, had more than 8 feet over the course of that week.
While the official observing station at San Diego International Airport itself reported a trace, enough snow was available to build snowmen in parts of the city. Nearby Carlsbad, along the coast, recorded 2 inches.
For those who experienced it first hand, the sight of snow falling in San Diego is something they will never forget.
To commemorate the 40th anniversary in 2007, the San Diego Union-Tribune uncovered stories from the day that "America's Finest City" turned white.
The surreal experience of snow falling on surfers sent them rushing into a nearby surf shop, stoked about an encounter with something other than the perfect wave.
A schoolchild used the opportunity to make snowballs to his advantage that day, hurling one at his "no-nonsense" typing teacher.
The powerful storm left an indelible mark on other Southwestern cities more acclimated to heavy snow, including Flagstaff, Ariz., where 27.3 inches fell in one day setting a new 24-hour record for the city.
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