California

Cold front brings record lows to Northern California; Southland to warm up

Winter weather in California
Derrick Hunter sleeps while waiting to be bused to a church to spend the night out of the cold in Sacramento. The cold system was expected to weaken.
(Lezlie Sterling / The Sacramento Bee)

A chill that ran through Northern California slashed records Monday as temperatures dipped into the 20s.

In Redding and Red Bluff, temperatures bottomed out at 27 and 28 degrees, respectively, according to the National Weather Service’s Sacramento station. Over the weekend, both cities also experienced weather that dropped below previous record lows — although nothing as icy as Alturas, which registered minus 3 degrees Sunday, and Bogard, which plunged to minus 11 degrees.

Meteorologists attributed the frosty weather to cold, dry air from the north dropping behind a low-pressure system and coupling with light winds.

“We warmed up reasonably in the afternoon, but because the air was so dry, we cooled off quickly and sharply overnight,” meteorologist Craig Shoemaker said.

The cold system was expected to weaken, but not before bringing light showers to portions of Northern California. A storm system expected to move into the area Thursday could deliver rain to the valleys and 6 to 12 inches of snow to the Sierra Nevada.

“It’s typical for us to get a storm like this once a week or so this time of year because we’re in the wet season,” Shoemaker said. “We’re actually getting the weather we should be getting. It just seems unusual because we’ve been in a drought for the past several years.”

The frigid air has been felt statewide, with downtown Los Angeles recording temperatures several degrees below normal over the last few days.

An unusual fall with heat waves helped make current conditions feel especially harsh. During September and October, temperatures were 6 to 7 degrees above normal, said climatologist Bill Patzert of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

“Now, all of a sudden, we’ve been whiplashed into this,” he said. “This is really the most frigid weather we’ve had in many months. So our system’s been shocked after an exceptionally warm year.”

Patzert pointed out that in recent days, downtown Los Angeles’ temperature at one point dropped 23 degrees lower than a week earlier.

Dry conditions will continue locally Tuesday, with slightly warming temperatures. A high pressure system moving into Southern California this weekend will produce warm and dry conditions.

corina.knoll@latimes.com | Twitter: @corinaknoll

veronica.rocha@latimes.com | Twitter: @VeronicaRochaLA

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