IT DID HAPPEN HERE – The Los Angeles Snow & Hail Storm of 1944


WHAT: Storm (Hail and snow)
WHEN: February 20, 1944 around 4:30pm
WHERE: Los Angeles, California
FATALITIES: None reported (2 minor injuries)

While not exactly a weather disaster, the snow & hail storm that struck Los Angeles 73 years ago today was so uncommon that the city was caught completely off-guard.

The hail/snow storm of February 20, 1944 started at about 4:30pm and lasted only 10 minutes. It was the heaviest storm in 13 years. The Los Angeles Times reported the storm as front page news.

The front page of The Los Angeles Times, February 21, 1944

Trees were felled due to stiff winds and two people were injured in freak storm. According to the article:

Struck by lightning via telephone was Jack F. Carlin, 42 of 6331 Third Ave., a supervisor for the Los Angeles Railway Co. Carlin was using a a company telephone on a pole at Fifth and Flower Sts., when lightning came through the instrument. He managed to reach his car near by and then collapsed. Apparently uninjured otherwise. he was taken to Georgia Street Receiving Hospital, where he was treated for shock.

Miss Marjorie Swanson, 24, of 701 1/2 W. 35th Place was severely shaken up when flood waters washed the crutches from under her in the 800 block of W. Jefferson St. She was rescued from the swirling water by bystanders and taken to Georgia Street Receiving

More about the 1944 storm
More about the storm that hit Southern California (along with WWII news and other tidbits) from the February 21, 1944 issue of The Los Angeles Times.

The storm was brief, the damage minimal. Highways were blocked and power lines toppled but the snow melted quickly and the clean-up was hasty.

This type of storm is incredibly common in most Northern cities but for Los Angeles it was a reminder than it CAN and DID HAPPEN HERE.

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