After a relatively mild, dry winter, cold temperatures are set to return to Northern California, which could affect travel plans during the latter part of the Presidents Day weekend, the state Department of Transportation warns.
Cold air pushing in on Sunday will see overnight temperatures drop to the upper 20s in Sacramento, according to the National Weather Service. A freeze watch is in effect for the valley through Wednesday morning, though no rain is predicted in the area, according to the weather service.
Sacramento has seen 7.8 inches of rainfall this weather season, which began Oct. 1. No rain has fallen in the city since Jan. 25.
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The Sierra will see below-freezing temperatures, with lows in the mid-teens, and an expected 4 to 6 inches of snow. Snow levels will drop below 3,000 feet, meaning it will fall as low as the foothills.
As a result, Caltrans has issued a traffic alert for the region through Wednesday, urging motorists to be prepared for “slick and icy conditions” on mountain roadways. Chain controls on Interstate 80 over Donner Summit and U.S. Highway 50 over Echo Summit should be expected Sunday night through Monday morning, Caltrans predicted.
Caltrans is also warning motorists to anticipate delays and closures, as road conditions “can change rapidly” during winter weather.
Barbara Harvey: 916-321-1821, @barbaraaharvey