March Miracle: “Snow” lands on NHS

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Ellie Chan

A WINTER WONDERLAND: Seniors rejoice at the sight of graupel outside their government class.

Anna Cho, News Editor

A mixture of rain, slush and hail fell on the Northwood campus at around 2 p.m. last Wednesday, interrupting fifth period as students vacated classrooms to watch the unexpected weather.

What was thought to be snow turned out to be soft pellets of hail called graupel, created by the recent blizzard in Southern California and resulting in sudden, unforeseen hail falling upon regions of Irvine, causing frequent power outages in various parts of the city.

This unpredicted weather was inconvenient for Northwood swimmers and students without umbrellas, but for some, it turned out to be a joyful surprise.

“It’s so surreal for such extreme weather to happen in Southern California,” freshman Raelle Tiong said. “It was fun and refreshing to see a different sight of weather besides just the same old rain and sunshine here in Irvine with my friends.”

A series of extreme winter storms struck the West Coast over the last week, burying Southern California’s mountain communities under mounds of snow and stranding thousands of residents.

Mount Baldy in the San Gabriel Mountains and Big Bear Lake in the San Bernardino Mountains, both in California’s San Bernardino County, accumulated 106 inches of snow. Since Saturday, Soda Springs in California’s Nevada County has received 114 inches of snow, or 9.5 feet, according to ABC News.

This was the first taste of an unexpected winter wonderland since elementary school for most Northwood students.

Aside from the student excitement, some teachers even paused their lessons to let the students go outside to experience and admire the rare sighting.

“You don’t see this kind of extreme weather often around here,” English teacher Charles Gates said. “I was just as excited as my students too, and hail during school hours was definitely a fun surprise.”

Another storm is forecast to hit the West Coast today, bringing even more snow to the mountains and additional rain to the shores.

The National Weather Service has issued a blizzard warning for the Sierra Nevada mountains in Northern California, where five to eight feet of local snowfall could accumulate.

However, sunshine is expected to return to Irvine in the next week, with cold temperatures from the 50s to 60s remaining throughout the month of March.