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A California with no snow? Study says that could be a possibility in coming decades

Cars with headlights on drive on a two-lane road between trees and snow-covered houses
California may see winters with no snow in the coming decades. Above, cars drive though Big Bear after a winter storm in December 2019.
(Patrick T. Fallon / For The Times)

Good morning, and welcome to the Essential California newsletter. It’s Friday, Dec. 3. I’m Dakota Smith, filling in for my colleague Justin Ray.

In just three and half decades, California may see winters of either no snow or little snow, according to researchers at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Such a scenario would have devastating implications for California’s water supply and wildlife and could lead to more wildfires.

The study, published in October in the journal Nature Reviews Earth and Environment, outlined “potentially catastrophic consequences.”

L.A. Times reporter Hayley Smith reports on the study and its implications, which one coauthor called “a little bit shocking.”

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“As a kid who grew up in the Sierra, it’s kind of hard to fathom a low- to no-snow future,” said Alan Rhoades, a hydroclimate research scientist.

But in many ways, the changes have already begun.

And now, here’s what’s happening across California:

Note: Some of the sites we link to may limit the number of stories you can access without subscribing.

Los Angeles County confirmed its first case of the Omicron variant Thursday. Officials urged residents to get tested for the coronavirus more frequently when it makes sense to do so — particularly if they plan to travel or gather with family or friends during the holiday season.

More information is coming out about the Omicron variant. Now present in at least 23 countries, the variant was probably incubated in the body of a person with an immune system battered by HIV or another immune-compromising condition that can cause a prolonged coronavirus infection, according to the South African scientist who detected the fast-spreading genetic mutant.

The L.A. Times’ Melissa Healy explains more.

L.A. STORIES

Los Angeles City Council members balk at a proposed ban on camping at more than 160 sites in one council district. The city passed an ordinance this year outlawing camping around parks, libraries and other facilities, over objections from critics who said it would punish people for living on the streets.

The law prohibits sitting, sleeping or storing items on public property near libraries, parks, day-care centers, schools and other locations. But it also states that enforcement in such places cannot occur until the City Council has reviewed a location and voted to give the go-ahead.

City Councilmember Joe Buscaino’s bid to ban more than 160 sites in his Watts-to-San Pedro district hit a roadblock Wednesday after his colleagues sent his proposal back to a committee for more discussion. “Don’t we want to protect the most vulnerable sites in the city in my district? That’s all I’m asking,” Buscaino said at the council meeting. LAist.com

Officials at a news conference
City Councilman Joe Buscaino gestures while speaking to the media during a news conference, with Police Chief Michel Moore in the background.
(Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)

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POLITICS AND GOVERNMENT

L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti’s top aide Rick Jacobs was a serial harasser, and the mayor was aware, multiple accusers told New York magazine. “Despite alleged harassment so rampant it was called an open secret, some of which Garcetti allegedly witnessed, Jacobs kept his job at City Hall and later became Garcetti’s most influential strategist, laying the groundwork for a White House run, orchestrating off-the-schedule meetings, and traveling around the world with the mayor,” the magazine reports. Jacobs and Garcetti deny the accusers’ allegations. New York magazine

Long Beach Police Chief Robert Luna will challenge Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva in next year’s election. Luna enters the race with some big endorsements, including that of Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia. An East Los Angeles native and the city’s first Latino police chief, Luna has talked about growing up in “an environment of poverty, blight and racial injustice,” the Daily News reports. However, his campaign kickoff drew a small group of protesters who held signs with the names of police shooting victims. Los Angeles Daily News

CRIME AND COURTS

An arrest was made in the shooting death of Jacqueline Avant, a Los Angeles philanthropist slain in her Beverly Hills home. Aariel Maynor, 29, of Los Angeles was arrested in connection with the homicide. Multiple surveillance cameras showed his vehicle heading east out of Beverly Hills after the shooting, police said. Police determined that Maynor accidentally shot himself during an alleged burglary attempt at a Hollywood home shortly after Avant was shot. Maynor was released from state prison in September and “has an extensive criminal record” involving burglary and robbery. Los Angeles Times

14 suspects are arrested in connection with smash-and-grab robberies, LAPD says. Garcetti and Police Chief Michel Moore went in front of reporters at LAPD headquarters to announce the arrests after last month’s spate of robberies that had retailers and shoppers on edge. None of the suspects remain in custody; Moore pointed in part to emergency zero-bail policies put in place for some crimes last year to reduce jail populations during the pandemic. “We have opened up a lot of the city because we’re in a better place with COVID,” Garcetti said. “We should be able to also open up our jails, and we should be able to have judges that put people behind those bars as well.” Los Angeles Times

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HEALTH AND THE ENVIRONMENT

Crows abound in the Bay Area. There’s been an “impressive growth” in San Francisco’s crow population, an uptick that can be attributed to food waste and garbage in the city, reports SFGate.com. “Because crows are so well adapted to human landscapes, what we’re doing is essentially subsidizing them,” said one expert. “There are more crows because we’ve manipulated the city infrastructure in ways that work for us, but also work for them.” SFGATE

CALIFORNIA CULTURE

A former media executive on a mission to save the donkeys. Ron King was a successful New York media executive who left the rat race to open a donkey sanctuary in Hopland, Calif., a place for abandoned animals that would otherwise be slaughtered. “I’ve never worked harder,” King said of his new occupation. “I underestimated how hard it would be.” Washington Post

Looking back at “L.A. Story.” Actor Steve Martin wrote and starred in “L.A. Story,” a satirical look at 1990s Los Angeles. KCRW interviews Martin — who grew up in Southern California — and asks whether the L.A. stereotypes in the film hold up three decades later. KCRW

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CALIFORNIA ALMANAC

Los Angeles: 67 San Diego: 64 San Francisco: 58 San Jose: 66 Fresno: 69 Sacramento: 64

AND FINALLY

Today’s California memory is from Phillip Gold:

It was a Sunday in the middle of summer, 1947. Ordinarily, I would have gone with my dad to Wrigley Field to watch the Angels play a double-header. My dad ran a concession stand in what was called the Beer Garden at Wrigley, and my job was to help him set up and then go watch the action. But that day I had the flu. Of course, my dad knew all the Angels players, and when he got home that night, he brought a surprise. He had talked Larry Barton, the first baseman, out of his ball cap and brought it home to cheer me up. I’ve treasured that cap and the memories ever since.

If you have a memory or story about the Golden State, share it with us. (Please keep your story to 100 words.)

Please let us know what we can do to make this newsletter more useful to you. Send comments to essentialcalifornia@latimes.com.


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