The mercury dipped to 31 degrees in Sacramento this morning as frost covered windshields.
The cold weather that gripped Northern California is the lead-in to a period of windy, rainy weather in the valley and good snowfall in the Sierra Nevada.
Rain is expected to begin late Thursday night in the Sacramento region. Along with the Thursday night rain, gusts are expected to reach 30 mph.
The blustery storm is expected to continue through Friday and Saturday.
In the mountains, the National Weather Service has issued a winter storm watch for Friday morning through late Saturday night. Two feet of snow is expected above the 7,000-foot-elevation level and a foot or more of snow is predicted for the Tahoe basin.
The detailed forecast for the Sacramento region from the NWS:
Today: Patchy frost before 10am. Otherwise, mostly sunny, with a high near 51. Calm wind becoming south southeast around 6 mph.
Tonight: Mostly cloudy, with a low around 34. South southeast wind 7 to 9 mph.
Thursday: A 30 percent chance of rain, mainly after 4pm. Cloudy, with a high near 55. South southeast wind 9 to 14 mph increasing to 15 to 20 mph in the afternoon. Winds could gust as high as 30 mph.
Thursday night: Rain likely, mainly after 10pm. Cloudy, with a low around 42. South southeast wind 18 to 20 mph, with gusts as high as 30 mph. Chance of precipitation is 70%. New precipitation amounts between a tenth and quarter of an inch possible.
Friday: Rain. High near 52. South southeast wind around 18 mph, with gusts as high as 28 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%.
Friday night: Rain. Low around 45. Breezy. Chance of precipitation is 100%.
Saturday: Rain. High near 52. Breezy. Chance of precipitation is 100%.
Saturday night: Rain. Cloudy, with a low around 43.
Sunday: Showers likely. Cloudy, with a high near 52.
Sunday night: A chance of showers. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 43.
Monday: A slight chance of showers. Partly sunny, with a high near 52.
Monday night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 36.
Christmas Day: Mostly sunny, with a high near 53.