Snowfall forecast for Santa Cruz Mountains; 8-12 inches possible

Snow in Bonny Doon on March 11, 2021.
(Via Claudia Webster)

Wednesday morning to Thursday morning marks the first time in over a decade that any part of the Monterey Bay area has been put under a winter storm watch. Though up to 12 inches sounds like a lot, the snowfall is expected to be wet and will therefore not accumulate much.

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Locals might be able to gaze up to the Santa Cruz Mountains and see some rare white spots later this week. From Wednesday morning to Thursday morning, the mountain range will be under a winter storm watch for the first time since 2011.

There’s a high chance that the northern portions of the Santa Cruz Mountains that extend into Santa Clara County will get a fair amount of snow — 8 to 12 inches — beginning Wednesday and continuing through Friday night, mainly at elevations of 1,500 feet and higher. The heaviest snowfall is anticipated Thursday night, with between 6 and 10 inches expected.

Eight to 12 inches sounds like a lot, and it is fairly significant, particularly for this area. But National Weather Service meteorologist Brayden Murdock said the snow will be “wet,” meaning that the white winter weather will be short-lived.

“When I say certain areas could see about 8 or so inches falling, that doesn’t mean that it’s going to be 8 inches stacking up on the ground,” he said. “When snow is wet, plants and soil will absorb it, so it doesn’t have the sticking power.”

While the region is under its first winter storm watch in more than a decade, there was a winter weather advisory — which indicates a milder weather event — around Thanksgiving 2019.

The current forecast shows chances of rain and snow early next week, too, but no winter storm watch.

Send Lookout your snow photos! If you’ve captured the white stuff in Santa Cruz County in the past or encounter it this week and want to share, email us with photo(s), where and when it was taken and any other pertinent information at

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