Hail Covers Huntington Beach: 'It Looked Like Christmas Morning'

HUNTINGTON BEACH (CNS/FOX 11) - People in Huntington Beach were treated Monday to a rare sight -- what looked like snow covering the beach -- but it was actually hail.

About an inch of hail accumulated on Huntington Beach this morning, a somewhat rare occurrence, as a new low-pressure cold system arrived in the Southland, according to National Weather Service meteorologist James Thomas.

"Every one or two years we'll get an event that produces accumulated hail such as this one'' in Southern California, Thomas said.

But it was still a rare sight in Huntington Beach, according to Marine Safety Lt. Mike Beuerlein.

"It's only happened three times in the last 30 years,'' Beuerlein said. In the prior cases the hail didn't "stick'' so it didn't transform the beach into a winter wonderland.

"It absolutely looked like Christmas morning,'' Beuerlein said. "There were snowball fights on the beach.''

The snow drew crowds, Beuerlein said.

"There were a lot of people who came down to take in the experience,'' Beuerlein said. "It lasted for more than half an hour where it was coming down hard. It got real dark and there was some lightning.''

Pea-sized hail was also reported in Mission Viejo about 10:35 a.m., and thunder and lightning were reported in San Clemente along with heavy rain, Thomas said.

In fire-scarred Silverado Canyon there was a slight mudslide. Some mud got onto the property of a home in the 30700 block of Silverado Canyon Road, but did not damage the residence, according to Orange County sheriff's Lt. Jeff Hallock.

The Orange County Fire Authority had about 25 firefighters assigned to the mudslide armed with a bulldozer, according OCFA Capt. Steve Concialdi.

More showers are headed toward Orange County overnight, Thomas said.