The upward trajectory of the average low temperatures in California storms screams that weather like this might never happen again, so I made it a point to capture the intensity and beauty of the coastal snow.
Yesterday, I hiked through the San Lucia Mountains of the Big Sur Area. I grew up backpacking in these mountains. Never have I seen snow in them until yesterday. We found WAY more snow than expected. Seeing the native plans including coast live oaks, Pacific madrone trees, and redwoods caked in the snow was unbelievable.
The San Lucia Mountains are ~2625 square miles of low elevation mountains that start right at the Pacific. They stretch from Monterey to San Luis Obispo. Their proximity to the Pacific keeps them fairly warm. The ocean never gets colder than 50F in that area, which protects the area from freezing storms that bring snow. Only the tallest peaks get dusted with snow, many less than once a year, and the low oak and redwood forests almost never see snow.
Here's a map of where the San Lucia's, and the Ventana Wilderness which lies within, for reference: