Winds blowing over 20 mph at Sacramento airports

Winds whipped flags and ripped the remaining leaves from trees Thursday as the Sacramento region experienced a breezy afternoon.

Winds picked up about 10 a.m. and peaked around noon with gusts of 43 mph reported at Sacramento International Airport and 42 mph at Sacramento Executive Airport, said Johnnie Powell, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service. The fast-moving weather system brought no rain, except for a few sprinkles in the mountains, Powell said.

The National Weather Service noted that the gusty conditions were caused by high pressure over Oregon and Nevada. Winds blow from high pressure to low pressure, much like going from a hilltop to a valley on a topographic map.

The winds were expected to taper off by late Thursday, giving way to relative clam and sunshine today. After a cold start to December, with several nights of lows below freezing, the Sacramento region has experienced a relative warm spell this past week. Thursday marked the eighth consecutive day of highs in the 60s, placing this December among the top 10 Decembers for the number of consecutive days with highs of 60 or above, Powell said. The record was 1976, a drought year, when temperatures in the 60s were recorded 21 days in a row.

“Highs in the 60s and lows around 40 is about as good as it gets for us at this coldest time of the year,” Powell said.

The forecast is for more of the same through Christmas.