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Temecula's Chilled holiday festivities receive a surprise snowfall

Snow falls in Temecula, which fits in fine with the tail end of the city's Chilled holiday celebrations

Temecula was at the tail end of its Chilled holiday celebrations when a funny thing happened: It actually snowed. 

The California city about 40 miles south of Riverside awoke Wednesday morning to a blanket of snow covering Old Town and the surrounding hillside.

"The last time it snowed was Jan. 29, 2002, but it was a brief snowfall and it didn’t stick and quickly melted away," Annette Brown, marketing manager for Visit Temecula Valley, wrote via e-mail. "This is definitely a rare occurrence."

The Chilled celebrations throughout December have included outdoor ice skating, horse drawn trolley rides and 30-plus tons of man-made snow (before they knew they could get the real thing for free), a tourism news release said Wednesday.

Temperatures for New Year's Eve are forecast to be as low as 30 degrees around 11 p.m., according to

Still, the town plans to celebrate New Year's Eve the way it had planned: with the drop of a 10-foot grape at City Hall (this is wine country, after all) and live bands playing music in a 12-block area.

A winter storm pushed across Southern California on Tuesday and Wednesday, bringing strong winds and snow to areas as low as 1,400 feet. About a foot of snow was reported in the Big Bear area, where more than 130 motorists were temporarily stranded.

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