Keep those frost covers handy; we’ve got more cold on the way.
Record-setting low temperatures iced Sacramento lawns early Sunday morning and put a wintery glaze over rooftops. At Sacramento Executive Airport, overnight temperatures plunged to 27 degrees, a record low, besting the former record of 28 degrees set in 2004 on that date.
According to the National Weather Service, downtown Sacramento reached 31 degrees, tying a record set in 1952.
“We’ve got one more really, really cold night,” said meteorologist Travis Wilson of the National Weather Service’s Sacramento office. “We’ll be warming up very slightly – to 28 degrees (Sunday night).”
That means another frost warning for Sunday night has been issued for the Sacramento area.
“Then, clouds will bring warmer nighttime temperatures,” Wilson said. “It will only get down to 34 degrees Monday night and 37 degrees Tuesday night.”
Sparkling blue sunny skies on Sunday will help warm up temperatures into the mid-50s with a high of 54 degrees forecast. Monday’s high is expected to be 52, with 56 forecast for Tuesday. Temperatures will peak at 59 degrees on Wednesday.
“Then, things will really change,” Wilson said. “We’ll see a (storm) system coming through Thursday. It probably will bring us wind and most definitely rain. It’s a real storm.”
How much precipitation this storm will bring remains uncertain, he said. “It’s coming from the Northwest. This storm will be warmer than the ones we’ve been having (recently). Snow levels in the Sierras will start at 6,500 feet (elevation) before dropping to 5,000 feet.”
Before pulling out the umbrella, remember to prepare for another frosty night Sunday. Here are some tips to help your garden cope:
▪ If freezing temperatures are forecast, water your plants lightly in the late afternoon or early evening before frost hits. Wet soil holds more heat than dry soil and raises the humidity level. Well-hydrated plants can cope better with frost “burn,” which results from moisture being pulled out of the foliage to protect the main trunk and roots.
▪ Pull back mulch away from plants so the ground can radiate any stored heat.
▪ Move potted plants to protected areas indoors or under the shelter of a covered patio.
▪ Cover sensitive plants before sunset; that helps capture ground heat and keeps it close to the plants. Cloth sheets or blankets work better than clear plastic and can increase the temperature 5 degrees. Allow a little room for air circulation under the cover; that helps keep in warmth, too. Remove the covers by mid-morning or risk suffocating the plant.
▪ Use heat caps or row covers to protect tender vegetable transplants.
▪ Plants in raised beds or on mounds stay warmer than those planted in sunken areas, where cold air collects.
▪ String old-fashioned Christmas lights – the ones that get hot – on the trunks and limbs of citrus, avocado and other frost-sensitive trees and bushes. The big lights give out more heat than mini-lights. LEDs offer no heat for plant protection.
▪ Wrap the trunks of tender trees or shrubs with rags, towels, blankets or pipe insulation.
▪ If temperatures are expected to go below 30 degrees, harvest ripe citrus fruit to avoid potential damage.
▪ If a plant shows frost burn, don’t cut off the damaged foliage. It will help protect the plant from further harm. Remove the burned leaves in spring.
Here’s the seven-day forecast for Sacramento:
Sunday: Sunny, clear and crisp with a high of 54 degrees.
Sunday night: More frost with overnight lows in Sacramento expected to dip to 28 degrees.
Monday: The work week starts out sunny with a high of 52 degrees, but clouds are expected to roll in by afternoon.
Monday night: Those clouds will warm up overnight low to 34 degrees.
Tuesday: Gradual warming continues with a high of 56 degrees under cloudy skies.
Tuesday night: The low will feel like a balmy 37 degrees.
Wednesday: Temperatures peak this week at 59 degrees.
Wednesday night: Lows stay well above freezing at 42 degrees.
Thursday: A storm system is expected to arrive from the Northwest along with some wind. Rain is forecast for Sacramento, with snow above 6,500 feet before dropping to 5,000 feet.
Thursday night: That “warm” storm keeps lows above 40 degrees.
Friday: Some clouds will linger but the storm will have moved east; 57 degrees is the forecast high.
Friday night: Those clouds continue to keep overnight lows above freezing; expect a low of 36.
Saturday: The weekend starts pleasant and dry, with a few clouds and a 58-degree high.
Saturday night: Expect a low of 39 degrees – and no frost.