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Snow Day

Started: 2021-03-10 21:21:36

Submitted: 2021-03-10 23:27:44

Visibility: World-readable

In which snow falls at 3000 feet in the Santa Cruz Mountains and the intrepid narrator observes a snow day from online school

Tuesday morning was foggy and gray as Julian headed for his first day of in-person kindergarten, portending the beginning of a multi-day winter storm as we head to the end of a dry winter. By Tuesday evening rain had started in earnest, with thunder and maybe snow in the forecast overnight. I woke up in the middle of the night to a lengthy reverberating thunderclap, and I began to worry whether the thunderstorm might set off a wildfire even in the winter before going back to sleep.

In the morning, before I managed to get out of bed, Julian barged into the room asking if he could go outside and play in the snow. I opened the door to the deck and confirmed that, yes, there was in fact snow outside — up to almost two inches of snow on the coldest part of the deck where more of the snow that fell overnight could accumulate. I snapped a picture and posted it to Twitter, tagging the local National Weather Service office because they're generally interested in pictures of weather.

Snow on the ground in the Santa Cruz Mountains
Snow on the ground in the Santa Cruz Mountains

What I failed to fully appreciate when I took and posted the picture (leaning out my bedroom door in my pajamas to snap off a quick picture, not yet totally awake) was that I live at one of the highest places in the Santa Cruz Mountains, and the snow line was high enough that most people, even in the Santa Cruz Mountains, received very little snow. (I live at 3000 feet, and I'm the highest house on my ridge line. There are only a couple of other houses above 3000 feet in the entire mountain range.) The other thing I forgot was that Bay Area people love to see pictures of snow in the Bay Area. The net result was that, by the time I was eating breakfast, the National Weather Service field office had quote-tweeted my tweet and my single photo was blowing up: I got 309 likes and 36 retweets on my own photo, and 310 likes and 61 retweets on the Weather Service's tweet.

Snow falling on the deck
Snow falling on the deck

Then the media requests started coming in, responding to the tweets to ask if they could use the picture. I responded to as many as I saw, giving permission to print my photo. SFGate reporter Amy Graff followed up by email and I gave her a quote she printed Snow transforms Santa Cruz Mountains into a winter wonderland:

"My kids (5 years old and 11 years old) were born in Colorado but we haven't seen as much snow since moving away a couple of years ago. They're enjoying a break from Zoom school this morning to play in the snow."
Snow on the trees
Snow on the trees

For a couple of minutes after I responded with my quote, the updated version of the story with my quote appeared in the site search, but the article itself had an older cached version, until the cache caught up with the update. Then my photo was the lead photo on the article for a couple of hours until the afternoon, when hail in the North Bay pushed my photo and quote below the fold.

Calvin and Julian play in the snow
Calvin and Julian play in the snow

My newspaper quote kind of gave away the plot, because by that point Kiesa had decided the kids deserved a snow day of sorts and let them skip online school as long as they were playing outside in the snow.

Julian carries a snowball
Julian carries a snowball

This meant, of course, that I had to go follow them outside to get pictures of them enjoying the snowfall.

Calvin and Julian in the snow
Calvin and Julian in the snow

Some of the scenes with Calvin and Julian facing off against each other in the snow reminded me of a stereotypical standoff in a western movie. I expected tumbleweed to blow through at any moment.

Julian and Calvin face off in a snowball fight
Julian and Calvin face off in a snowball fight

The kids enjoyed their morning playing in the snow, and for a moment I remembered being their age and remembered how exciting any amount of snow was to play in.

For more photos of Loma Prieta in the snow, see Photos on 2021-03-10.

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