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Wet, cold, breezy: Sacramento will be 15 degrees below normal. How much will it rain?

Watch time-lapse video of dust moving into the Truckee Meadow

Here is a time lapse showing the dust moving into the Truckee Meadows along the remnant outflow, or gust front, boundary on May 9, 2019. The boundary separates cool air from a thunderstorm and the surrounding air, much like a cold front.
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Here is a time lapse showing the dust moving into the Truckee Meadows along the remnant outflow, or gust front, boundary on May 9, 2019. The boundary separates cool air from a thunderstorm and the surrounding air, much like a cold front.

A few weeks after record-setting heat in Sacramento, Redding and other parts of Northern California, a system passing through this week could break records on the other end of the thermometer.

National Weather Service advises it will be cold, wet and breezy starting midweek and lasting through the weekend across Northern California.

NWS says temperatures will be 10 to 20 degrees below average for mid-May, and some areas could set records for coldest daily high temperatures.

In Sacramento, projected high temperatures will drop quickly this week, from 81 on Monday to 71 Wednesday and 65 by Thursday, according to the latest NWS forecast.

The lowest maximum temperature ever recorded in the area for Thursday’s date is 63 degrees, set May 16, 2011. The historic average for the week is about 80.

Showers are likely starting Wednesday and precipitation will likely be heaviest Thursday and Friday in the capital city. Winds could peak around 11 mph in Sacramento while blowing closer to 20 mph farther north in the Valley.

How wet will it be?

The possible rainfall outlook is still not totally clear, and at least two different forecasts vary significantly.

While forecasts by NWS predict “showers,” not rain, for Sacramento, models used by Pacific Gas and Electric Co. meteorologist John Lindsey show a 24-hour precipitation total of between three-quarters of an inch and 1 inch for Thursday.

Lindsey tweeted last Thursday that those forecast models started showing “dramatically increased” rainfall totals for this Thursday and Friday across Northern California; for Sacramento, these models expected between 1.5 and 2 inches of rain to fall in that two-day stretch.

That differs greatly from a seven-day precipitation outlook tweeted by NWS Sacramento on Sunday, which predicts less than a half-inch will fall in the greater Sacramento area over the course of the whole week.

Latest doppler radar loop for Northern California

However, both PG&E and NWS say the late-week weather, into the weekend, remains “unsettled” and that updates a bit closer to Wednesday will be more accurate.

Latest visible satellite loop for West Coast

The Sierra will see heavier rain than the Valley, with Tahoe-area forecasts showing temperatures in the mid- to high 40s Thursday and Friday.

The wet, cold stretch is the result of a storm track heading in from Alaska.

National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration researchers and scientists give their predictions on spring 2019 precipitation, floods, drought.

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Michael McGough anchors The Sacramento Bee’s breaking news reporting team, covering public safety and other local stories. A Sacramento native and lifelong capital resident, he interned at The Bee while attending Sacramento State, where he earned a degree in journalism.


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