It was the day that one of Southern California's most famous beaches turned frosty. A layer of hail coated Huntington Beach on Monday morning, transforming Surf City into a bit of a winter wonderland.
The illusion was the result of about an inch of small hail falling on a coastline better known for surfing and sunbathing. The alternative-reality landscape was promptly well documented."...
"The science" behind hail on the beach:
3/3/15, "The science behind hail on Southern California beaches," LA Times, Veronica Rocha
"So what is the science behind the hail that fell Monday on some Southern California beaches? Pea-sized hail coated miles of sand in Huntington Beach just before 11 a.m. as thunderstorms lingered for about 30 minutes. Hail nearly an inch deep blanketed the beach town, sparking a flurry of interest on social media as beachgoers snapped photos in the hail and surfers scaled patches of ice off their surfboards.
The unusual event — which extended from the Palos Verdes Peninsula to El Cajon — was a rare treat for Southern California after having one of the warmest Februarys on record.
“The reason it seems so spectacular is because it’s been so warm,” said William Patzert, a climatologist with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The same warm weather created Monday’s winter wonderland.
Two cold, low-pressure systems from Oregon swept down the spine of the Sierra Nevada and swooped into Southern California, Patzert said. When the cold air met warm temperatures, it created a volatile situation, he said.
The unstable and disorganized weather pattern resulted in hail in Orange County, waterspouts on Sunday in Los Angeles County and scattered showers with some communities receiving 4 inches of rain."...