Weather News

Late September heat, wind bring severe wildfire danger across Northern California this week

As the Sacramento Valley braces for increased fire danger this week, temperatures in the capital region are expected to rise well above average before cooling down quickly heading into the weekend.

A red flag warning issued by the National Weather Service will be in place beginning at 1 p.m. Monday and lasting through at least midday Wednesday for the valley, North Coast and Sierra Nevada foothills. Windy weather, low humidity and high temperatures in the forecast for much of Northern California have prompted the warning. Gusts could reach 50 mph in the northern Sierra and foothills, and between 30 to 40 mph in the valley and near the coast, forecasts show.

Pacific Gas and Electric Co. said it may initiate a planned power shutoff that could now affect as many as 124,000 customers in Butte, El Dorado, Nevada, Placer, Sutter, Yuba, Lake, Nevada and Sonoma counties, starting as early as Monday evening, in an effort to reduce wildfire risk.

In Sacramento, winds are expected to be highest Monday morning, with gusts up to 21 mph possible, according to the latest NWS forecast.

Monday’s high temperature of 90 degrees will swell to about 97 both Tuesday and Wednesday in Sacramento, forecasts show. A cool-down later in the week will be swift, dropping down to the upper 80s by Thursday and a high of just 77 degrees predicted for Friday. A chance of showers is also possible Friday, the NWS says.

Very similar trends are expected across the Sacramento Valley, with Chico and Redding also forecast to top out in the upper 90s by Wednesday.

Monday marked the official start of fall and the autumnal equinox occurs at 12:50 a.m. Tuesday; Wednesday’s anticipated high of 97 degrees is about 12 degrees above average for early autumn in Sacramento, according to NWS data.

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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.