Rain and snow gone, but cold weather remains

The snow and rain may be gone, but the cold is here for a while.

Overnight temperatures are expected to drop below freezing for the next three days in Sacramento. Today’s low is expected to drop to 29 degrees, just two degrees shy of the 27-degree record, according to the National Weather Service.

“It’s going to be a cold couple of mornings,” said Johnnie Powell, weather service forecaster.

A freeze warning for the region will remain in effect through Tuesday morning. In the Sierra Nevada and foothills, temperatures will drop into the teens and in some cases below zero. Officials are warning residents to shelter their plants, animals and pipes from the cold.

Some plants, particularly citrus trees and ferns, are more susceptible to frost.

“Cover them up with a blanket, but don’t touch the foliage,” said Richard Hong of Green Acres Nursery & Supply in Sacramento. “Make a tent, wrap some lights around.”

In response to the cold, some communities opened warming centers and used social media to get the word out.

“Warming Centers will remain open in Elk Grove and Galt; nightly at the Wackford Center in Elk Grove and Chabolla Center in Galt,” tweeted the Cosumnes Fire Department.

The city and county of Sacramento’s joint warming center at Southside Park, 2115 Sixth St., will remain open from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. through Monday.

Powell said the lack of moisture is causing the chilly temperatures.

On Saturday, the region woke up to snow, rain or slush, depending on the elevation. At 1,500 feet, the Auburn Post Office recorded an inch of snow, while, farther northeast, Kingvale received nearly 2 feet.

Despite multiple forecasts calling for snow in Sacramento, the white powder never came, disappointing city residents like Shyam Sundararaman.

Sundararaman, a midtown engineer, said he was “fairly eager to check out the snow,” after missing the last time flakes touched down in Sacramento in December 2009.

“I stayed up past 1 a.m.,” hoping to see snow, he said. “It was kind of frustrating.”

The right combination of freezing temperatures and moisture wasn’t in place to bring snow to the Valley floor, according to Powell.

“You’ve got to get the cold air and the moisture here at the same exact time. We knew it was going to be a close call,” Powell said. “Snow is rare here. It’s tough.”

Tahoe ski resorts rejoiced at the fresh powder. Heavenly Mountain Resort received 24 to 30 inches of snow overnight Saturday, the largest snowfall this season, said Sally Gunter, a spokeswoman.

“It allowed us to open up a couple more lifts,” she said.

Meanwhile, Sugar Bowl Resort officially opened Saturday, after the storm dumped 18 to 24 inches of snow.

But the snow also tied up roads, canceled events and forced motorists traveling in the mountains to chain up.

Kathryn Holt of Meadow View said she lost electricity, Internet and phone service during the storm. Heading into Auburn on Saturday morning, she described a chaotic scene.

“There were cars in ditches, cars that hit trees and cars off the road. Literally, it was combat driving,” Holt said.

The annual Gold Country Food and Toy Run was a victim of the frigid weather. Organizers canceled the event for the first time in its 18-year history, grounding the 500-strong motorcycle parade that is the toy drive’s highlight. However, some volunteers were undeterred, showing up to deliver toys to families in need.

“It was snowing so hard that we felt safety was most important,” said Emma Lujan, co-founder of the drive.

For information about chain requirements, roadway conditions and live traffic cameras, go to www.dot.ca.gov.



Today’s low temperature in Sacramento


The record for Sunday’s low temperature, set in 1998

Source: National Weather Service