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Snow in Roseville? Sacramento area about to feel big chill

Be prepared; forecast calls for freezing temperatures and strong winds

So much for our sunny skies! Grey clouds and gusty winds have returned. Near-freezing temperatures, too.

So much for our sunny skies! Grey clouds and gusty winds have returned. Near-freezing temperatures, too.

Kathy Morrison

Sacramento is about to get a double-dose of wintry weather: Intense cold and strong wind.

According to the National Weather Service, a storm front will create hazardous conditions Wednesday through Friday – including rare snowfall in the Sacramento Valley.

“Heavy low elevation snow with dangerous travel impacts expected tomorrow through Friday,” the Sacramento NWS tweeted Tuesday morning (Feb. 21). “Snow levels will fall to 1,000-2,000 feet tomorrow, with snow levels down to about 500 feet to the northern Sacramento Valley floor early Thursday morning and Thursday night to early Friday.”

Yes, snow is possible on the floor of the northern Sacramento Valley – and closer to home. Auburn, at 1,227 feet elevation and Placerville (elevation 1,867), definitely fall within the potential snow zone. But there’s a slight possibility flakes will fall as low as Roseville (elevation 164).

It’s not just the cold but the wind.

“Gusty winds will increase this afternoon over interior Northern California, slowly decreasing overnight,” the Sacramento NWS tweeted Tuesday. “Expect gusts 30 to 45 mph in the Valley and foothills and 40 to 70 mph over the mountains. Downed trees and branches, local power outages and difficult driving conditions are possible.”

In addition, overnight frost warnings are in the forecast Tuesday through Friday. Daytime highs will drop 20 degrees; the expected high on Thursday and Friday in Sacramento is only 48 degrees.

After several days of sunny, springlike weather, this downturn will be a shock to our plants, most of which already are in high-growth mode. Blooming fruit trees likely will lose their blossoms and may not set fruit. Expect to see some dieback on sprouting shrubs (such as roses). Newly transplanted vegetables or sprouting seeds are in danger of damping off.

What’s a gardener to do? Hold off on planting anything more until after this cold spree. Protect tender seedlings with row covers, milk cartons, water jugs or other shelter. Deep-water shrubs, trees and perennials; moist soil radiates heat and can raise the soil temperature (and surrounding space) just enough to prevent frost damage.

For more on freezing and frost, check out these recommendations from the UC Cooperative Extension master gardeners:


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Dig In: Garden Checklist

For week of March 19:

Spring will start a bit soggy, but there’s still plenty to do between showers:

* Fertilize roses, annual flowers and berries as spring growth begins to appear.

* Watch out for aphids. Wash off plants with strong blast from the hose.

* Pull weeds now! Don’t let them get started. Take a hoe and whack them as soon as they sprout.

* Prepare summer vegetable beds. Spade in compost and other amendments.

* Prune and fertilize spring-flowering shrubs after bloom.

* Feed camellias at the end of their bloom cycle. Pick up browned and fallen flowers to fight blossom blight.

* Feed citrus trees as they start to blossom.

* Cut back and fertilize perennial herbs to encourage new growth.

* Seed and renovate the lawn (if you still have one). Feed cool-season grasses such as bent, blue, rye and fescue with a slow-release fertilizer. Check the irrigation system and perform maintenance. Make sure sprinkler heads are turned toward the lawn, not the sidewalk.

* In the vegetable garden, transplant lettuce and kale.

* Seed chard and beets directly into the ground.

* Plant summer bulbs, including gladiolus, tuberous begonias and callas. Also plant dahlia tubers.

* Shop for perennials. Many varieties are available in local nurseries and at plant events. They can be transplanted now while the weather remains relatively cool.

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