Rain pelts Northern California, snow in mountains

Published: Sunday, Sep. 22, 2013 - 12:00 am

A powerful storm dumped record levels of rain in Sacramento and snow in the mountains Saturday on the last day of summer.

Northern California got pelted with as much as an inch of rain by midafternoon, overflowing leaf-clogged storm drains, causing street flooding in residential areas and forcing foothill residents indoors under the threat of lightning storms. Unseasonably cold temperatures turned that rain to snow in the mountains, causing the state Department of Transportation to impose chain controls on westbound Interstate 80 over Donner Summit late in the day. Hail was reported in Davis late Saturday.

Downtown Sacramento got 0.41 of an inch by 4 p.m., far surpassing the previous record, 0.15 of an inch, set in 1916, according to the National Weather Service. More than an inch fell in Redding, setting a record for the day. Stockton and Modesto also recorded record amounts.

The National Weather Service tweeted an afternoon warning to mountain residents: “When thunder roars, go indoors!” The storm caused a mudslide on Highway 193 near Placerville, led to several roadway spinouts and slowed traffic on I-80, the California Highway Patrol reported.

Weather service forecaster Brooke Bingaman expected the storm to tail off. “Once we get past 5 p.m., there is still a chance of showers, but it should be diminishing,” he said.

Saturday night’s low temperature in downtown Sacramento was forecast at 54 degrees, with diminishing chances of rain.

Today will usher in fall with sun and a breeze. Expect a high of 77, or 10 degrees below average. The low should reach about 57.

The summer was “very dry,” and with reservoir systems below normal, “it’s a good thing we are getting rain earlier that is coming in to refill those reservoirs,” Bingaman said.

Summer also brought fewer 100-degree days than normal, she said. The Sacramento region averages 22 per year, but summer 2013 had 17.

Call The Bee’s Tony Bizjak, (916) 321-1059.

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