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Winter weather warning: More cold rain -- and snow -- are on their way

Weather service says 'expect substantial disruptions to daily life'

Daffodils are hanging in there, despite all the cold and wet weather. More is coming our way this weekend.

Daffodils are hanging in there, despite all the cold and wet weather. More is coming our way this weekend.

Kathy Morrison

Our wet – and cold – winter continues. After a brief sunny break, more storms will roll through the Sacramento Valley this weekend on their way to the Sierra, creating very snowy and dangerous conditions, says the National Weather Service.

“Expect SUBSTANTIAL disruptions to daily life this weekend as another strong winter storm brings more heavy snow to the mountains & foothills with extensive travel impacts,” tweeted the NWS Sacramento office on Friday morning. (All-caps emphasis is theirs.) “Get all your traveling done by (Friday night) because conditions will deteriorate starting early Saturday!”

This storm will affect the foothills as well as the peaks. Snow is forecast as low as 1,500-foot elevation. Blizzard conditions are expected in the Sierra passes as well as lower elevations.

“Please reconsider your mountain travel plans this weekend!!!” said the weather service in another Friday morning tweet. “Heavy snow & gusty winds will bring DANGEROUS to IMPOSSIBLE travel conditions Saturday-Monday. Mountain travel is HIGHLY discouraged, but if you are thinking of driving up there, ask yourself these questions!”

The first question: “Do I have enough supplies and an emergency kit if I get stranded?”

In the Valley, the concern will be more rain and wind, not snow. The current forecast calls for one-half to one inch of rain in Sacramento, spread out over Saturday through Monday, with 20 mph winds and gusts up to 30 mph. That’s enough to knock over already-wobbly trees. More rain is expected throughout the week.

Besides the rain, the current weather pattern is much colder than normal. Sacramento’s average high temperature for this week: 66 degrees. The forecast high for this weekend: 52 degrees. Overnight lows will be down in the 30s, too. That follows a frosty trend; Sacramento set record lows – 35 degrees – for March 1 and 2.

That kind of cold can put the brakes on spring bulbs and other March flowers as well as kill tender new growth.

On the bright side, our water picture looks very good for spring and summer. Rain on the final six days of February brought that month’s total to 2.56 inches for Downtown Sacramento – more than an inch below normal. But thanks to a very wet December and January, our water year is still tracking above average.

Since Oct. 1 (the start of our “rainy season”), Sacramento has received 20.78 inches – more than 7 inches above normal for those five months. A “normal” rain year (October-September) for Sacramento totals about 17.6 inches.

For more on local weather including storm timelines:


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Dig In: Garden Checklist

For week of May 28:

Make the most of these cooler temperatures. Get to work!

* Keep an eye out for slugs, snails, earwigs and aphids that want to dine on tender new growth.

* Feed summer bloomers with a balanced fertilizer.

* For continued bloom, cut off spent flowers on roses as well as other flowering plants.

* Don’t forget to water. Seedlings need moisture. Deep watering will help build strong roots and healthy plants.

* Put your veggie garden on a regular diet. Set up a monthly fertilization program, and keep track on your calendar. Make sure to water your garden before applying any fertilizer to prevent “burning” your plants.

* As spring-flowering shrubs finish blooming, give them a little pruning to shape them, removing old and dead wood. Lightly trim azaleas, fuchsias and marguerites for bushier plants.

* Add mulch to the garden to maintain soil moisture and cut down on weeds. Leave about a 6-inch to 1-foot circle around tree or shrub trunks to avoid crown rot or other problems.

* Plant, plant, plant! Set out tomato transplants along with peppers, eggplants, squash and melons.

* Direct-seed melons, cucumbers, summer squash, corn, radishes, pumpkins and annual herbs such as basil.

* In the flower garden, direct-seed or transplant sunflowers, cosmos, salvia, zinnias, marigolds, celosia and asters.

* Plant dahlia tubers. Other perennials to set out include verbena, coreopsis, coneflower and astilbe.

* Transplant summer color such as petunias and marigolds.

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