A Brief History of Cold Weather in Los Angeles

Wait out this week’s storm while reading up on chilly days past

Baby it’s cold outside—for L.A. The National Weather Service has issued an advisory of a cold air mass that hit Southern California late Sunday evening and will remain, keeping temperatures low, through mid week. Over the weekend, the mercury dipped to 35 degrees in Woodland Hills and 30 degrees in the Inland Empire. Adding to the chill factor, cold winds are predicted to reach 10-20 mph speeds later this week. As a result, officials are advising locals to bring sensitive plants indoors and to keep pets properly sheltered.

Although it’s unusual for Los Angeles to be so frigid (this time of year or any) Angelenos have braved big winter storms before. Here are four other times the weather outside was frightful:

  • In January, 1921, a snowstorm covered the roof of Charlie Chaplin Studios in white and rendered La Brea Avenue a slushy mess.
  • L.A. experienced its lowest temperature on record, 28 degrees, in 1949. Snowfall lasted for three days. An article that ran in the Los Angeles Times reported the “almost unprecedented cold wave… found outlying suburbs and portions of Los Angeles itself whitened yesterday morning by a night-long fall of flakes.”
  • In 2007, L.A. got a frosty New Year. It snowed lightly in West Los Angeles and Malibu on January 17. National Weather Service meteorologist Jamie Meier, a “stronger than expected” storm system produced snow, rain and hail. The conditions were later blamed for damaging local naval orange groves.
  • In 2013 and again Sunday morning, it got as cold as 34 degrees in downtown. These recent record lows, according to officials, are the result of a cold air mass. In 2013, the cold air mass arrived from Canada and was a “polar” mass. This week’s cold air mass comes from the Arctic Circle and will likely result in an even chillier clime.