Bay Area gets up to 18 inches of snow

A winter storm system off the coast has left up to 18 inches of snow in parts of the Bay Area this week, according to the National Weather Service.

A large amount of powder has been seen near the Big Sur coast, where about 18 inches of snow fell on mountain peaks above 3,500 feet, weather service forecaster Steve Anderson said today.

Snow in the Santa Cruz Mountains reaching down into parts of Santa Clara County this week have totaled about 8 inches above elevations of 3,500 feet, Anderson said. Mount Hamilton also received about 8 inches of snowfall above 4,000 feet, Anderson said.

Snowfall on the higher peaks of Mount Diablo has reached about 5 inches, supervising ranger for Mount Diablo State Park Dan Stefanisko said.

Vehicle access to the summit has been closed periodically because of the snow, which has brought additional visitors to the park, Stefanisko said.

Snow flurries also stuck on Mount Saint Helena, where California Department of Transportation crews have been plowing roadways, according to the California Highway Patrol in Napa.

The weather system bringing the unusually extended winter weather will bring heavier snow showers Friday at lower elevations, which will likely bring another snow advisory from the National Weather Service, Anderson said.

The most recent snow advisory expired Tuesday morning.

Snow was expected to fall above 2,500 feet today, according to Anderson. “(Snowy weather) typically happens once or twice every winter,”

Anderson said. “It is unusual that it is sticking around for so long. This particular storm has decided to stick around a little bit and gives us a taste of winter.”

Caltrans workers have plowed highways across mountains and hills in the Bay Area to keep drivers safe, spokeswoman Susana Cruz said.

Highways in areas hit by the storm have not been closed today, as Caltrans workers have continued storm patrol service, checking roadways and working in areas that need to be cleared, Cruz said.

Drivers are cautioned to allow for extra time on trips and beware of cone zones along the highway, Cruz said.

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