Weather News

Rain hits Sacramento as ‘extreme’ fire danger continues near greater Reno area

Sacramento is wet Monday, as a weak storm system bringing morning showers across most of Northern California will be followed by scattered afternoon thunderstorms.

Showers started shortly after 7 a.m., picking up steam around 8 a.m. Rain is expected to continue through about noon in the Sacramento area, with as much as a quarter-inch of precipitation expected. A thunderstorm would boost that total.

Monday night should be clear and Tuesday will be sunny before a slight, 20 percent chance of showers returns to the region Wednesday afternoon.

A significant cooling trend will continue in the Sacramento area for most of this week, according to the latest NWS forecast, which predicts a high of just 77 degrees Monday. Temperatures hit 97 degrees two days earlier, on Saturday, at Sacramento Executive Airport.

The region will stay in the high 70s or low 80s through Thursday, warming back up to highs in the upper 80s by Friday and into the weekend, NWS forecasters predict.

The last measurable rainfall in Sacramento came May 26, when a tenth of an inch was observed at Sacramento Executive Airport. Earlier this month, on Sept. 4, a rare bout of rain was seen throughout Sacramento in the morning ahead of a hot summer day. But the rain stopped within a few minutes, before leaving any measurable amount of precipitation.

‘Extreme’ fire risk

The NWS Reno office has issued an “extreme red flag warning” along the Highway 395 corridor through Monday evening, as the storm system hitting Northern California has already brought gusty winds to northeast California and greater Reno area.

Despite “rain, isolated thunder and high elevation light snow showers,” conditions remain conducive to fire activity, as very gusty winds will continue to sweep through the area from Susanville to Mammoth Lakes.

Gusts reached 40 mph in the area of the Walker Fire, a 53,000-acre wildfire burning in Plumas National Forest, on Sunday. The extreme red flag warning remains in place through 6 p.m. Monday. Gusts as high as 60 mph are possible, the NWS Reno office says.

Commuters beware

The first significant rain in months is likely to have an impact on traffic, as roadways will be slick, the NWS warns.

Drivers are encouraged to start their morning commutes early, as delays are likely on Sacramento-area freeways.

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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.