Big freeze lingers – but Wednesday should be warmer

Another bone-chilling day in the Sacramento region made roads icy and treacherous Monday night and inspired continued efforts to provide emergency shelter from the cold.

Subfreezing temperatures are expected to resume Tuesday evening. But daytime highs are forecast to top 50 degrees in a warming thaw to bring a high temperature of 54 degrees Wednesday and a low of 35 Wednesday night, according to the National Weather Service.

A regional warming center at the Southside Park Pool Building, 2115 Sixth St., stayed open Monday night for the sixth consecutive day due to the continued cold spell. The center has been kept open from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m.

A traffic advisory was issued about 6:30 a.m. Monday for the Sacramento region, asking motorists to reduce speed and watch for crews sanding roadways due to icy pavement. At the same time, the California Highway Patrol reported a two-vehicle accident due to black ice on Sunrise Boulevard at Zinfandel Drive.

The icy conditions also slowed the start of schools in the foothills, including the Mother Lode Union School District, which instituted a two-hour delay for schools to begin teaching on Monday.

The frigid temperatures are all due to the same conditions that have been locked in place since last week. Cold arctic air is streaming from Canada into California.

The only city in the region to break a record for cold temperatures Monday was Stockton, which had a low of 22 degrees, breaking the previous record of 23 degrees set in 1972.

While Monday’s low was well below freezing, no records were broken in Sacramento. That’s all due to a cold snap more than 80 years ago during the Great Depression.

The record low in Sacramento for Dec. 9 is 23 degrees, a mark set in 1932. That big chill was followed a day later with a record-setting 22 on Dec. 10, 1932. The all-time record low for the city was set on Dec. 11, 1932, when the thermometer plunged to 17 degrees.

The National Weather Service expects that it may take until Friday before temperatures warm enough at night to drop any worry of a hard freeze.

Meanwhile, the recent cold snap has led to an increase in home fires, prompting a warning from Cal Fire on Monday.

“Half of all home heating fires are reported during the months of December, January and February,” said state Fire Marshal Tonya Hoover. “Improper use or poorly maintained heating equipment often leads to fires, injuries and deaths that could have been easily prevented.”

Cal Fire offers these fire tips for people trying to keep warm: