Weather

70s in February? Sacramento could see record high temperatures this weekend

Warm temperatures forecast this weekend should bring out recreation seekers to Lake Natoma. There was record-breaking heat over the weekend.
Warm temperatures forecast this weekend should bring out recreation seekers to Lake Natoma. There was record-breaking heat over the weekend. rpench@sacbee.com

Sacramento is expected to see record or near-record temperatures each day this weekend after a layer of morning fog wears off.

A high of 70 degrees on Friday will be followed by 72 on Saturday before dropping back down to 70 on Sunday, according to National Weather Service predictions. Lows are expected to hover in the upper 40s each morning as patchy fog blankets the region.

If Saturday’s high is reached, it would eclipse the daily Sacramento record of 71 degrees set on Feb. 3, 2009, per National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The other daily records – 76 degrees on Feb. 2, 1976 and 72 degrees on Feb. 4, 2001 – aren’t expected to be reached.

The highs and dry skies expected in early February mirror those of 1976, when a two-year drought began plaguing California. Sacramento also saw about a week’s worth of 70-degree heat in February 2011 at the start of the recent five-year drought, said Jim Mathews, National Weather Service meteorologist.

“Right now we’re kind of trending that way toward 1976 (totals),” Mathews said. “In order for us to have a decent water year, we’re going to have to pull out a miracle in March.”

The Department of Water Resources’ first seasonal Sierra Nevada snow survey found just 3 percent of average snowfall outside the El Dorado County town of Phillips on Jan. 3. The second survey will be conducted Thursday.

While rainfall has been weak since the water year began in October and little is expected in the coming month, the Northern Sierra 8-Station Precipitation Index still shows more water over the last fourth months than the entire year of 1976. Last year’s heavy downpours also stocked California’s reservoirs better than the years headed into the 1976 or 2011 drought, Mathews said.

Highs are forecast to remain in the upper 60s or low 70s into early next week, and lows in the upper 40s. No wind more than 10 mph is expected for the next week.

A joint study between NOAA and NASA found 2017 was the third-hottest year worldwide, topped only by 2016 and 2015. The world’s average temperature was 1.51 degrees Fahrenheit above the 20th century average.

Nearly two feet of fresh snow has blanketed the Sierra Nevada for the first time in weeks to the delight of skiers and outdoor enthusiasts alike.

Benjy Egel: 916-321-1052, @BenjyEgel

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