Let it SLO! Flurries, hail hit parts of SLO County on Monday

When Keith Badger and his young daughters caught flurries of snow falling on the top of Cuesta Grade morning, it was a first-in-a-lifetime experience for the girls.

“It was awesome!” Badger wrote in an email, accompanied by a photo and video of the two catching snowflakes on their tongues. “My daughters had never actually seen it snow before so they were amazed!”

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The flurries, which were reported in areas of the North County including Atascadero and the Cuesta Grade, started at about 8 a.m. Monday, according to PG&E meteorologist John Lindsey.

Cal Poly also received some hail on campus early Monday afternoon as well, according to the university.

Lindsey said the flurries were the result of an upper-level low pressure system, brought on by a cold air mass known as the “Yukon Express,” which is traveling from western Canada to California from Monday through Wednesday.

“When we do get snow, that’s pretty much how it happens,” Lindsey said. “An upper-level low consequently means really cold temperatures, but usually they don’t have a lot of moisture, so consequently you don’t get a lot of snow on the ground or a lot of rain associated with these types of systems.”

Lindsey said the flurries wrapped up by about 4 p.m. and no further precipitation is expected in SLO County. However, the county is in for a hard freeze on Monday and Tuesday nights.

According to Lindsey, San Luis Obispo is expected to hit 28 degrees on Tuesday morning, and Paso Robles will hit 22 degrees.

“That’s the first time this winter we’ve gone below 30 degrees in San Luis, that’ll definitely produce a hard freeze,” Lindsey said. During a hard freeze, the National Weather Service recommends keeping vulnerable animals and pets inside, either in a home or a barn, and taking “protective measures” to save crops and plants, such as covering them or bringing them inside. Exposed pipes should also be wrapped to prevent them from bursting, the NWS said.

If you missed your opportunity to see snow, Lindsey said there’s a chance that another upper-level low pressure system arriving Wednesday from the Gulf of Alaska could produce some precipitation.

Gabby Ferreira: 805-781-7858, @Its_GabbyF