Change is coming, and it's going to be big. Get ready for the transition, and get ready today.
Get ready for rain.
By the time you get in your car to go to work or school or play, the odds are overwhelming that on your way there, you're going to get wet.
National Weather Service meteorologist Drew Peterson put the chance of rain today in the Sacramento area at 100 percent. He said the cloud dump will continue through Tuesday.
By the time the bell rings on the first round of wet sometime Tuesday afternoon, we'll have a third- to a half-inch of rain, according to Peterson.
Wednesday and Thursday should bring a smaller encore of showers, Peterson said, closing the book on the first splash of measurable precipitation since three one-hundredths of an inch fell on June 4. The few drops recorded on June 22? They didn't add up to more than trace, he said.
Peterson said the heaviest rainfall should coincide with the morning commute fine timing no doubt for grass and flowers and trees, but "not optimal," as some might say, if you've got to be on a freeway with thousands of other motorists.
"We're worried about the timing of the precipitation," Peterson said Sunday. "So we want people to be aware that it's going to be an issue. Leave early and drive slow. The roads are going to be especially slick. I'd be surprised if there weren't several wrecks."
Rain is not unheard of in Sacramento Octobers, more of a "mixed bag" of a weather month compared with the other 11 in the region's annual march of time, Peterson said.
"But for this time of year, it is deeper and cooler than average for the first storm that drops out of the Gulf of Alaska at this time of year," Peterson said. "Compared to winter storms, it's not that powerful. But it is notable."
Along with the third-inch to a half-inch that's expected to fall from the sky, Peterson said that drains and ditches cluttered with debris figure to impede water's movement toward wherever it winds up, whether it's in the ocean or behind a dam.
"It may create a little extra hazard when people are driving," he said.
That's just for the lowlands.
In upper elevations, in places such as Donner Pass, Peterson suggested that today might not be a good time for pioneers to be doing any crossings in covered wagons, especially if they don't bring chains.
Snowfall in the passes could amount to a foot, so be ready for some "major impacts" if you try to conquer them, even in an automobile, Peterson said. The snow will be blowing.
The wind speed won't match Giant Barry Zito's fastball, or even his changeup. But the 15- to 25-mph streams punctuated by gusts of 50 miles per hour, splattering thickets of white sideways through the sky will make it very tough to see the ball up in the mountains today.
The higher you go, the worse it's going to get.
Peterson said the foot of snow projected for the passes likely will double to 2 feet high amid the Sierra peaks.
"It's going to be pretty miserable up there for people driving across the mountains," Peterson said. "We highly recommend chains."
Peterson further advised, "Be aware of what's going on."
Down in the Valley, for those choosing to lie low rather than face a wintery hell, Peterson said the temperatures will hold steady in the low 60s almost all week.
They'll rise toward 70 by Friday, with lows bottoming down to 50.