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Snowfall in the Temecula Valley: November 21, 2004

Last updated July 4, 2005

Residents of southwestern Riverside County woke up Sunday morning, November 21st, 2004 to a mixture of snow and rain. Snowflakes could be seen across the Temecula Valley, including Temecula, Murrieta, De Luz and the wine country all the way to Aguanga and beyond, in the most widespread snow event in southwest Riverside County in nearly 20 years.

Some areas in northern Murrieta and Menifee reported two to four inches on the ground Sunday morning. Snowflakes the size of silver dollars were reported in northern Murrieta. There was considerably less accumulation in south Temecula where the Temecula weather station is, but the white rooftops and lawns were unmistakable.

Mixed with rain, the snow began to fall around 5am and continued into the 8am hour. The snow was preceded by heavy rain, thunder and lightning from 4:30am. Much of the heavier snowfall occurred after 8am this morning, accompanied by large, wet snowflakes. Unusually low temperatures (for November) near freezing accompanied the snow and rain. Precipitation amounts in most parts of the valley were above or just below one inch for the morning.

Due to warm ground temperatures, most of the snow had unfortunately already melted by 10am Sunday morning in Temecula and Murrieta. Snow lasted into the afternoon and beyond in some of the higher elevations of the Temecula Valley and in the Menifee Valley, aided by afternoon temperatures that were only in the lower 40's.

Above Lake Elsinore, chains were required on the Ortega Highway.

This is the first snow in the Temecula Valley since January 29th, 2002, when very small amounts fell only to be gone in minutes, except out in the wine country. More snow fell in the Temecula Valley in 1985.

The unusual type of storm that hit the region on Sunday is referred to as an "inside slider". The low pressure system was actually over Nevada, and hit the inland valleys with wrap-around moisture from the northeast. Most storm systems that deposit rainfall in Southern California come from a westerly direction.

Most forecasts for the area had only predicted a chance of showers for Saturday night and Sunday morning, and less than a tenth of an inch of total rainfall.

Snow was also reported nearby in Hemet, Wildomar, La Cresta, Sage, Lake Elsinore, Menifee and Sun City, with accumulations of an inch or more.

See a list of all past weather happenings in the Temecula Valley over the past several years on the Features page.

Emailed reports by Steve Stucki, Michael Mojarro, Paul Powell, Chris Winslow, Sue Bram, Katy Parkhurst, Carol Ostrowski and Charles Aalfs contributed to this story.

Pictures were contributed by Ed Healy, Benson Hougland, Steve Stucki, Donaville Herrick, Ed Rios, Wendy McIlvride, David Smith, Geoff Stiles, Cindy Burtt, David Dietrich, Jim Toman, Robert J. Navarro, Robin Ellis, Scott Bruski, Noreen Gamble, California Dreamin' Balloon Adventures, Jim Purpura, J.R. Richardson, Terry Bleeker, Sue Painter, Tim Rider, Susan Lauhon, Ryan Waufle, Richard and Nancy Maisenbach, Bryan Calderwood, Shawn Larson, Mindy Van Dell, David Zamastil, Robert L. De Armond, John Michaelson, Jim Turner, Ray Atkins, Hank Reyna, Shawn Carvalho, Doug Gesswein, Douglas Leany, Jordan Blanchard, K. Morrison, Jeff Ornellas, Todd Scholl, Sue Halderman, Dan and Brenda Fusco, Dale Drexler and Lawrence Coco, Jason Holloway, Ben Larson, Susie Daniel, Nathan Tramposh, Justin Roy, Marie Sliney, Thuy Le and Willi Wilkens. Video was contributed by Chris Engel and Marjie Preston.

Editor's Note: Thanks to everyone who submitted photographs and were so patient while we processed them!



Wine Country

De Luz

La Cresta

French Valley

Menifee Valley

Aguanga / Lake Riverside


The Temecula weather pages are a service of WeatherCurrents. Temecula, California is located in the Temecula Valley, in southwestern Riverside County, along the Interstate 15 highway. The Temecula Valley's rolling hills are home to the Temecula wine country, vineyards, golf courses, a casino resort, and Old Town Temecula.
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