A rarely seen Southern California avalanche was caught on camera by a group of friends driving along Interstate 10 Sunday.
California’s winter weather storms have made international headlines recently with most of the state able to see snow at higher elevations through the end of February. Snow fell on coastal mountains in Pacifica last week and a three-story apartment building in Tahoe was “engulfed” by an avalanche Tuesday.
The avalanche in the Coachella Valley's Mount San Jacinto above Palm Springs was spotted just after 8:36 a.m. by Joyce Schwartz, Catherine Peterson and Caryn Hanson as they drove the 10.
“We were driving on the freeway, and my friend who was driving had snow-camped on that mountain the week before,” said Schwartz. “And then she realized it was an avalanche. It was pretty amazing—not something I ever expected to see in Southern California.”
Schwartz, a retired Riverside County resident, told The Standard the group was just past Whitewater on the outskirts of the usually arid desert city of Palm Springs when they saw the snow tumbling down the mountain.
“I grew up in the Northeast, but I've never seen anything like this in my life,” said Schwartz, who also volunteers for state parks. “I'm just amazed. I’m enjoying our 15 minutes of fame. I’m still amazed that we got to see it.”
The National Weather Service reports the Southern California blizzards are not over yet, with another 16 inches of heavy snow expected in the mountains of Riverside and San Diego counties by Wednesday night.
Joe Burn can be reached at [email protected]