Priceless photo – snow and palm trees juxtaposed in Southern California thanks to El Niño

Southern California has gotten quite  bit of weather lately, thanks to the changes in the jet stream track in this El Niño year. readers may recall my post from last week: El Nino turns ‘el mean yo’ for California where I had a front page of the Bakersfield newspaper showing a snowstorm in progress over the Tehachapi Mountains. There were more storms after that, and many mountains in Southern California now look like mountains in the Sierra Nevada. This one of a kind photo, showing mountains and the beach, pretty well sums up the scene.


Photo by Elena Zimina, taken from the Huntington beach Pier, looking east. Downtown Huntington Beach and the Pacific Coast Highway (CA101) are in the middle of the photo just beyond the palms.

116 thoughts on “Priceless photo – snow and palm trees juxtaposed in Southern California thanks to El Niño

    • Yeah check out the story on Tim Blair’s blog about the climate activist born in 1991. No global warming for almost her entire life, but no doubt she’d assert that this winter in LA is the record for changy-type weather.

  1. I can see fairly robust correlation between the top of the trees and the top of the mountains . . I fear I may have PCGS (Post Climatic Graph Syndrome ; )

  2. The memo went out and we are all condemned to listen to weather broadcasts that assert ordinary winter in the United States is “SEVERE WEATHER” Should fall be unseasonably warm it is no longer an Indian summer; should winter break for a bit and warm up we can no longer call it a false spring. Should the Mississippi River and it’s tributaries flood or tornadoes hit the great plains…the world will never be the same again

    • should winter break for a bit and warm up
      Often called The January Thaw. You can look it up.
      {Maybe you were thinking of something a month or two on.}

      • hey, part of the fun involving idioms is they are different in different parts of the country. The fact remains that for the last 9000 years or so as farmers tend to their crops they have come up with hundreds of ways to describe the nuances of weather and have always battled too much or not enough moisture no matter how “mild” the Climate hence the great engineering projects commencing , what, maybe 7000 years ago to bring water to the fields in a controlled way.

  3. In Alberta, we are thinking of changing the name of chinooks to DiCaprios.
    [Please do not insult perfectly good (if a bit old) helicopters (er, things that blow blasts of hot air) by comparing them to CAGW-worshipping film stars. .mod]

    • Both the post by Shocked Citizen and the Mod’s comment had me laughing really loudly. It’s just as well I’d finished my afternoon cup of tea.
      At present we have a temp. of 42C. It’s not exactly unheard of in January in Victoria (Aus) but you’d never think it from some of the hype.

      • Pretty warm here in Sydney too…not 42c, but humid with it. But the MSM keep bleating on and on about scorching this and scorching that. It’s SUMMER!!! Will be back to 22c on Friday!

      • I lived in Melbourne, Victoria from 1990 to 1997. We regularly got temperatures in the 40s. I liked pretty much everything else about Melbourne. (Oh and the bush flies that blew down from the desert.)

      • yeah she did get a tad warm today 😉
        the winds were the pig..lost a large branch across the driveway and sawing that by hand in the heat was NOT fun.
        over at iceagenow a report on Finlands MINUS 40 temps…made me rethink about heat
        at least we can douse ourselves with water n sit in the shade n be ok
        losing ones extremities to frostbite is def NOT a good look.

    • Good point. I had no intention of insulting either the helicopters or the blasts of warm air over the Rockies that can bring relief from temperatures of -30 C (which would have been -30.8 without global warming).

  4. What’s new? Ever been in the Alberta Foothills in winter time when the Chinook blows?
    Temperature can change 20 Celsius degrees within a day.

      • Okay Shocked, but how fast did it fall back?
        The reason is that the Black Hills of South Dakota are home to the world’s fastest recorded rise in temperature, a record that has held for nearly six decades.
        On January 22, 1943, the northern and eastern slopes of the Black Hills were at the western edge of an Arctic airmass and under a temperature inversion. A layer of shallow Arctic air hugged the ground from Spearfish to Rapid City. At about 7:30am MST, the temperature in Spearfish was -4 degrees Fahrenheit. The chinook kicked in, and two minutes later the temperature was 45 degrees above zero. The 49 degree rise in two minutes set a world record that is still on the books. By 9:00am, the temperature had risen to 54 degrees. Suddenly, the chinook died down and the temperature tumbled back to -4 degrees. The 58 degree drop took only 27 minutes.
        But using TOB recalculations, no change is given anymore.

      • …But using TOB recalculations, no change is given anymore….
        That’s just wrong. As in making events like that disappear is wrong.

    • 11/11/1911 A large part of the central US set all-time record highs AND lows on the same day when an Arctic low overran a strong high. Warm and pleasant early followed by several cases of frostbite and hypothermia in the afternoon and evening. Oklahoma City had a high of 83 °F (28 °C) and low of 17 °F (−8 °C); temperature difference: 66 °F (36 °C). Springfield, MO was at 80 °F (27 °C) at about 3:45 PM, before the cold front moved through. Fifteen minutes later, the temperature was at 40 °F (4 °C) with winds blasting out of the Northwest at 40 mph (64 km/h). By 7:00 P.M. Central Standard Time (01:00 UTC 12 November) the temperature had dropped a further 20 °F, and by midnight, a record low of 13 °F (−11 °C) was established. Also, not surprisingly, several tornadoes up to F4 around the country as well.
      Scary to think of the headlines if that happened again now…,_1911

  5. Well….. up here on the “North Coast” (aka the southern shores of Lake Ontario) we are still waiting on that outburst of Palm Trees caused by the “Man Made Global Warming”. We have some snow, now all we need are the palm trees.
    I thought I saw a palm tree sprouting during our last “Extreme Weather Event” (aka Summer), but turns out it was just a dandelion…..
    Cheers, KevinK.

    • I’ve had my car “iced over” by freezing spray from the Great Lakes, luckily I just call in sick to work and tell them I can probably make that meeting scheduled for May…
      Har har..
      Cheers, KevinK.

      • In the coldest town on earth, somewhere in Russia and some other extreme northern towns, vehicle engines are insulated, literally wrapped in blankets, and left running over night if left outside. Or, if you were lucky enough, had a heated garage.

      • In Labrador we had three engine heaters (bottom rad hose, block heater, dipstick heater) and a battery heater. If you forgot to plug them in too bad!!

  6. The perfect photo to illustrate:
    • global warming (palm trees in a winter setting)
    • global cooling (snow in a tropical paradise)
    • climate change (spin it however you want)
    • extreme weather events (monster snow dump)
    • man encroaching on pristine nature (look at all those evil cars and roads and buildings despoiling beautiful nature …)
    Only hateful environmentalists can turn a vision of joyous possibilities into visions of cataclysmic doom.

    • Only hateful environmentalists can turn a vision of joyous possibilities into visions of cataclysmic doom.

      Sometimes it’s like they’re not living on the same planet. It shows up strongly when they’re talking about wind and solar power. Their experts would have us believe that wind power is totally feasible and we should just get on with it. Obama’s speech last night is a prime example of their wishful thinking:

      “How do we reignite that spirit of innovation to meet our biggest challenge? Sixty years ago, when the Russians beat us into space, we didn’t deny Sputnik was up there. We didn’t argue about the science or shrink our research and development budget, we built a space program almost overnight and twelve years later, we were walking on the moon.”

      He thinks that if we just throw enough money at the problem we will develop the necessary technology. He’s almost certainly wrong.
      The space program resulted in many wonderful technological developments. For instance it speeded up the development of microelectronics and led to the computing power that surrounds us in our daily lives.
      What Obama and friends miss is that spending the money worked because the conditions were right. If they had tried to get to the moon even fifty years previously they couldn’t have done it no matter how much money they spent.
      We were able to beat the Soviets to the moon because we had better computing. We had better computing because we had just invented the integrated circuit. The conditions were right.
      The problem with wind and solar is that we don’t have adequate energy storage technology. We have been working on that for a long time and no breakthroughs are in sight. The conditions are not right to warrant an attempt to speed up the technology by spending vast gobs of money. Obama’s advisors should know better.

      • I’m sure they do no better. The spending is intended to make his friends and donors rich. If any technological developments come from it, that’s just icing on the cake.

      • commieBob said: “He thinks that if we just throw enough money at the problem we will develop the necessary technology. He’s almost certainly wrong.”
        What Obama and friends miss is nothing. None of this is by accident. None of this is misguided. It is all deliberate, orchestrated and all consequences are intended. The problems being solved are stripping you of your undeserved wealth first, then beating the western nations into third-world status and installing a totalitarian world government.
        If you doubt this, just do some more digging, reading and thinking. When the light bulb comes on, it hurts at first, then it all becomes clear.

    • Leon, you left out the palm trees as evidence of “man encroaching on pristine nature.” There is a native palm in southern California, but not those long tall ones.

  7. Sorry to burst this balloon, but snowstorms
    over the Tehachapi Mountains are nothing
    new really, and that photo isn’t really one of
    a kind, except in the sense that every photo
    is unique as an image from a particular point
    of view and composition,
    In 2013 it was a similar story, and many times
    previously, as a simple Google Search revealed.
    Google image search for Tehachapi +snow turned
    up an image from December 2014, of very deep snow,
    which led to this artist’s page and I’ll let him describe
    the event from his point of view.×6-acrylic
    What you see is a painting of a photograph.
    The painting was made in early 2015. Still this
    illustrates perhaps that the Public perception
    of the expectation of continued Global Warming
    has infiltrated the brains of people to such an extent
    that anything to the contrary seems somehow unusual.
    The picture shown in the original story would make
    a nice postcard for the tourist shops locally, if the
    horriffic blue Dalek thing was photoshopped away from
    off the beach. Then maybe the photographer could be
    on to a winner there. The image however proves nothing
    either way, about whether it is cooling or warming
    in the Tehachapi Mountains.
    What the **** is that blue Dalek thing ?
    That was the main question in my
    mind after examining that picture !

    • That “blue Dalek” thing is probably a life-guard station. People do still go swimming and surfing in the winter. Aren’t the mountins in the background the San Gabriels?

      • Since there is no direction indicated it is hard to tell off hand, but the snow pretty much means the San Gabriels. If that is right, the San Andreas fault zone is immediately beyond those mountains and the peaks you are looking at in the photo were the location of the final phase of the Michel-Morley experiment attempting to detect an “aether wind” effect on light..

  8. I grew up (70 or so years ago) at the foot of Mt. Wilson and it was SOP for some people to go skiiing at Kratka Ridge or Mt. Waterman in the morning and in Santa Monica after lunch.

  9. We seem to have lost all sense of normalcy. Nothing we have seen this year so far has been ninoesque in the least. This is NORMAL(so far).
    A bit of confusion has developed in the atmospheric community about the relationship between “atmospheric rivers” and ninos. Maybe it’s like the relationship between ninos and PDO where cold PDO’s correlate strongly with fewer ninos?
    Anyway, Jay Lund At U.C. Davis finds an R^2 of .02 between Sacto/San Joaquin tributary runoff and ninos.
    I doubt the statistics have even been run for atmospheric rivers and ninos. At least a master’s thesis awaits.
    Bottom line we don’t know Jack. Be humble.

  10. I used to race motorcycles in the SoCal Mojave desert, district 37, in the ’70s and we raced in snow frequently. But that was when we were being warned about global cooling, that being the disaster of choice of the 97% consensus at the time.

  11. El Nino (and other ocean oscillations) shifts the jets and climate zones from below whereas the sun shifts them from above.
    The constant ever varying natural interplay between the two is climate change.

  12. The view is more to the north then it is to the east. The mountain is Mt. San Antonio, “Mt Baldy”, with its top over 10K feet.. To the east of Huntington Beach is Saddle Back.

    • Dead on Will! I’ve got a photo of the surf, city, mountains in my office, taken from an area in Seal Beach. It shows a similar phenomenon. From my balcony in NB I couldn’t get the right angle to make my own. Riding up the Harding Truck Trail on a MB you found out that March in higher elevations was damned cold.

  13. The picture is for the most part of the San Gabriels as seen from the far end of the Huntington Beach Pier. The building on the right side of the photo is at 6th and PCH. willhass is correct in identifying Mt. Baldy. Other mountains seen in the photo are; West Baldy, Harwood Pk and Mt. Baden Powell. Other less prominent mountains are seen too.
    This isn’t an unusual thing to see in the winter in SoCal but I guess since the AGW crowd keeps telling us there will be less and less snow as the earth boils it will become a thing of the past.
    This morning I had to scrape frost off my windshield, I live in Norco, CA. Already this winter I’ve had several outdoor plants damaged by cold weather. Where’s El Nino to warm things up with you need it most?

  14. Those mountains are 10,000 feet high – they get snow every year. Several ski resorts in those mountains as well. It isn’t a surprise to see snow in the mountains outside LA.

  15. The close juxtaposition of mountains and beach seen here is obviously Photoshopped. Google search reveals the photographer to be a Huntington Beach realtor. Realtors are also fond of using the vignetting and high dynamic range effects seen in this image.

    • Sorry, no. I know the realtor, she’s a friend of my sister who lives there. The image is indeed taken in HDR mode, but it is NOT Photoshopped. A zoom lens was used to compose the image while in HDR mode.

    • What exactly does “the vignetting and high dynamic range effects ” even mean ??
      I’m lucky to get a photo into my computer, and then share it with anyone that might even care.

    • An internet search will quickly turn up many photos like this along the coast. Grapevine Pass north of L.A. on I5 becomes a nightmare for drivers during the same snow falls this time of year. The mountains south of Palm Springs often have large amounts of snow on them this time of year easily visible from I10. No telephoto lens required to capture that. Since Tucson was mentioned above, you can take in a mild winter day in Tucson, or go up 9,000 feet to near the top of Mt. Lemmon at the north edge of town to go skiing for the day. It’s a 90 minute trip when the roads at the top are full of ice and snow.

    • As others have pointed out, this is just the flattening effect of a long telephoto lens on perspective.
      The flood of small sensor short focal length lenses in phones and small cameras means this perspective effect is not seen much anymore, but get a medium format or larger sensor with medium telephoto, or a 35mm sensor with 200mm or longer lense and you get the foreshortening effect on perspective.
      Oddly, the effect is a direct result of the focal length, (as are depth of field effects), so a 250mm lens gives the same perspective change regardless of film size… but the sensor / film size crops the image circle and determins what we call telephoto. This means that a 250mm lens on an 8 x 10 field camera flattens perspective while not being telephoto…
      Folks usually don’t think about that, but high end photoraphers use it all the time. Want shallow depth of field and flattened perspective? Use a bigger film size and long fast lens wide open. Want exaggerated distances and everything in focus? Use a small film size, 18mm lens, stopped down. No photoshop required.
      One of my gripes about the Nikon SLRs with APS size sensor. My 24 mm lens is no longer a very wide angle lens, and the “normal” 50mm lens is now a mild telephoto, but doesn’t give as much foreshortening effect as the mild telephoto on full size 35mm sensors. As I love the telephoto perspective and shallow depth of field, I need to find a few $ thousand to buy high end gear to get back to what lower end “medium format” film cameras would do. Sigh.
      For photography, sensor size DOES matter. Not just for resolution, but for perspective as well…

  16. Next we will get that over used word, ‘co-exist!’ Money gets answers wether they are right or……. doesn’t matter,

  17. Photo not that unusual. Back in the mid-60s, when I lived in Pasadena CA at the base of these mountains, many times in mid-winter I sat on my patio in short-shirt-sleeves, under a lemon tree bearing lemons, and looked up at show covering the top tops. A popular activity was to drive up to Mt Wilson, covered with snow, and pile as much snow as possible on your auto. Then drive it back to the city, still covered with snow but melting fast, amid blooming flowers and people in light clothing.

  18. This just in: Tornado warnings SE and NE of Red Bluff, CA. Heavy rain. These are north of Chico where Anthony lives (I think).

  19. Once in the early 90’s I road a Motorcycle in the snow, fun times. I was taking a roommate to visit his girlfriend who lived in Scottsdale Arizona. Somewhere I have pictures of snow on the front lawn of the house I owned in Mesa.

  20. My parents complained that every time they had moved since they were married, it poured down rain on them as they moved (I can count six or seven moves).
    The time they move to the Cresenta Valley — the last move they were to make, as it turns out, it did not rain,
    It snowed. (The second time in my lifetime that it snowed where we lived.)

  21. Southern California has gotten quite bit of weather lately, thanks to the changes in the jet stream track in this El Niño year.
    Nice to know they are still getting weather in California. I would hate to think that they were no longer getting any weather. 🙂

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