Sacramento area Christmas weather dry, warm during day

Holiday travelers should have no problems getting in and out of Sacramento this week, with sunny skies and above normal temperatures during the day, and near normal or cooler lows at night.

“We’ve had high pressure nearby or overhead, and that will likely continue through the end of the year,” said Drew Peterson, forecast meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Sacramento. “It’s why it’s cooler at night and warmer during the day.”

The first full day of winter across much of the U.S. was different though, with a wild mix of weather from ice and power outages in Michigan, New England and New York to snow in the Midwest and floods in the south.

The expected high Sunday is near 61 degrees, with the low dropping to 38 degrees.

Normal high at this time of the year is 53 degrees, with the low hovering around 38 degrees.

Monday will see light wind during the day, but will still be warm and sunny with a high of 61 degrees. Patchy fog is possible after 4 a.m. that night, with a low around 40 degrees.

Christmas Eve day will start with patchy fog in the morning, but it will be mostly sunny, with a high of 63 degrees, so last-minute shoppers have one less excuse for not hitting the stores that day.

Christmas Eve will have patchy fog after 10 p.m., but not so bad that Santa will have to use Rudolph to guide his sleigh. The night will be warmer than normal - with a low of 41 expected.

Christmas day is expected to reach 62 degrees, just shy of the record 64 degrees set in 1892, 1955 and 1967. The low will be around normal - 38 degrees.

Thursday, or Boxing Day as it is known in some countries, will be clear and warm - 61 degrees - so making the trip to the stores for returns or bargains should be easy, except possibly for the crowds at the malls. Lows that night will drop to 37 degrees.

Friday will see a repeat of Thursday’s weather, with the same high of 61 degrees expected, but the low will go up slightly to 38 degrees.

Saturday will also be sunny, with a high of 61 degrees. Although it is a bit too early to predict what the weather will be for New Year’s Eve, it is likely to be very similar to this week - sunny, with above normal day time highs and about normal for lows.

Despite the great travel weather, the Sacramento area could really use one gift from Santa: rain.

“It’s been a pretty dry year so far and that is going to continue toward the end of the year,” said Peterson. “Hopefully, we get a wet start to 2014.”

For downtown Sacramento, only 1.75 inches of rain has been recorded since the start of the water year on July 1. The normal precipitation by this time should be 6.11 inches - so the Capitol city is at 28 percent of normal for moisture.

The lack of precipitation is also responsible for the absence of fog that is typical for this time of year.

“We get patchy fog near the waterways, over the Sacramento River,” said Peterson. “We don’t ge the kind of pea soup fog that we used to have in the past.”

Despite nice weather recently, this month will not go down in the record books as being one of the warmer Decembers, thanks to the cold spell earlier. With still a little more than a week left of this month, the average temperature has been 44 degrees, slightly cooler than the normal average of 47 degrees.

“So far this month, it’s been colder than normal but by the end of the month, we’ll be right at the average,” said Peterson. “We’ll be surprisingly normal, except it is very dry.”