Snow Falls in the Sierra Nevada Mountains on the Last Day of Summer

It's unusual, but not unheard of in the mountains' higher elevations

Fall begins early Friday afternoon, but parts of the Sierra Nevada Mountains already have a wintry look.

Snow fell in pockets of the towering mountain range Thursday -- the last full day of summer. Forecasters said the September snow is early but not unheard of, and is being caused by a cool weather system moving south from Oregon.

September and October snowfall is usually quick to melt as temperatures remain warm. It's not until November when temperatures dip enough for a blanket snow to stick around, hopefully until late winter or early spring, when the snowpack runs off the mountains and into California's system of canals and reservoirs.

National Weather Service forecaster Hanna Chandler said several inches of snow are expected at elevations of at least 6,000 feet in the northern Sierra.

Tioga Pass, the soaring eastern entry to Yosemite National Park, was temporarily closed due to snow and a park webcam shows snow covering the landmark Half Dome.

At Mammoth Mountin, a dusting appeared Thursday morning. 

Southern California is also taking an early leap into fall, with cloudy skies and rain showers across the region. Next week should see a warm-up in Southern California as winds turn weakly offshore.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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