Deep Winter- Extreme Cold and Snow
It was a bitter cold morning in the San Joaquin Valley on Thursday with lows dropping to as low as only 20° in Buttonwillow. The low in Bakersfield dropped to 29° and although it was not a record minimum temperature for the date, it was the first instance of a low in the 20s since January 16th last winter. In fact, we need to go back to January 14th to find our last high in the 40s. And now comes yet another hard freeze in the valley for tonight and Friday morning. I believe it will get even colder tonight with general lows in the low to mid 20s, but one or two locations in the south valley could possibly fall into the upper teens. Meantime, mountain towns were particularly cold. Tehachapi dropped to 14°, Pine Mountain Club to only 8° and the 5000' level over Wofford Heights sank to a mere 4° above zero.
Another big item is the upcoming disturbance coming down the back side of a massive low pressure system in the western US. By early Saturday morning an area of rain will rush into the south valley, but our atmosphere is so cold that snow could easily been seen on the valley floor. A Winter Weather Advisory is now in effect for Saturday morning through most of the afternoon for extremely low snow levels down to 1,000' elevation and accumulating snow over the major passes. I am forecasting 3-6" at 4,000' and above- which includes the Grapevine and Tehachapi Pass. Between 2 and 4" is likely above 2,500' and snow covering the ground is probable as low as 1,500'. Depending upon conditions this Saturday morning, I would not be surprised to see snow in downtown Bakersfield. The chance for precipitation is currently at 60% in the valley, 70% in the mountains and 80% in the Lake Isabella area.
Once this system moves through by Saturday evening, another shot of very cold air will come to Kern County- bringing another round of Hard Freeze WARNINGS for Sunday through Tuesday mornings. This has been a devastating cold episode for central California growers and it won't be over until the middle of next week. Finally, warmer weather is predicted for the end of next week and the following weekend. Of course, the next issue will become fog in the south valley. And after all this cold weather we are enduring now, fog should become a certainty by the following weekend. Try to stay warm during this extremely cold December.
12-5-13 7:31 pm Chief Meteorologist MILES MUZIO