The weather Wednesday is expected to be ideal for last-minute Christmas shopping and traveling to the mountains for the holiday before a quick-hitting storm socks Northern California.
The anticipated winter storm is forecast to move into the area late Wednesday night and continue through Thursday. The weather system is expected to be colder than recent rain and snow events – and it will be of the hit-and-run variety.
The storm front is expected to arrive with little moisture. That means a quarter-inch or less of rain in most of the Central Valley.
The storm will be a cold one, according to National Weather Service forecasters. The frigid storm could drop snow levels to the 1,500-feet elevation level.
Resulting low snow could accumulate in Grass Valley, Nevada City, Placerville and Camino, according to the NWS.
Once the storm leaves, Christmas Day should be mostly sunny in Sacramento. Friday and Saturday nights expected to be very cold with temperatures below freezing.
The detailed, seven-day forecast for the Sacramento region from the NWS:
Wednesday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 56. Calm wind becoming north-northwest around 5 mph in the afternoon.
Wednesday night: Rain, mainly after 4 a.m. Low around 40. West wind 5 to 7 mph becoming south-southeast in the evening. Chance of precipitation is 80 percent. New precipitation amounts of less than a tenth of an inch possible.
Thursday: Rain before 10 a.m., then showers likely and possibly a thunderstorm between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., then a chance of showers and thunderstorms after 4 p.m. High near 50. South wind 13 to 17 mph becoming west in the afternoon. Winds could gust as high as 22 mph. Chance of precipitation is 90 percent. New rainfall amounts between a tenth and quarter of an inch, except higher amounts possible in thunderstorms.
Thursday night: A 50 percent chance of showers, mainly before 10 p.m. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 34. West-southwest wind around 6 mph becoming calm in the evening. New precipitation amounts of less than a tenth of an inch possible.
Christmas Day: Mostly sunny, with a high near 50. Calm wind becoming north around 6 mph in the morning.
Friday night: Mostly clear, with a low around 31.
Saturday: Sunny, with a high near 50.
Saturday night: Mostly clear, with a low around 28.
Sunday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 49.
Sunday night: A slight chance of rain. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 35.
Monday: A chance of showers. Partly sunny, with a high near 52.
Monday night: A slight chance of rain. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 35.
Tuesday: Partly sunny, with a high near 53.