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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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Garden Checklist for week of April 14

It's still not warm enough to transplant tomatoes directly in the ground, but we’re getting there.

* April is the last chance to plant citrus trees such as dwarf orange, lemon and kumquat. These trees also look good in landscaping and provide fresh fruit in winter.

* Smell orange blossoms? Feed citrus trees with a low dose of balanced fertilizer (such as 10-10-10) during bloom to help set fruit. Keep an eye out for ants.

* Apply slow-release fertilizer to the lawn.

* Thoroughly clean debris from the bottom of outdoor ponds or fountains.

* Spring brings a flush of rapid growth, and that means your garden needs nutrients. Fertilize shrubs and trees with a slow-release fertilizer. Or mulch with a 1-inch layer of compost.

* Azaleas and camellias looking a little yellow? If leaves are turning yellow between the veins, give them a boost with chelated iron.

* Trim dead flowers but not leaves from spring-flowering bulbs such as daffodils and tulips. Those leaves gather energy to create next year's flowers. Also, give the bulbs a fertilizer boost after bloom.

* Pinch chrysanthemums back to 12 inches for fall flowers. Cut old stems to the ground.

* Mulch around plants to conserve moisture and control weeds.

* From seed, plant beans, beets, cantaloupes, carrots, corn, cucumbers, melons, radishes and squash.

* Plant onion sets.

* In the flower garden, plant seeds for asters, cosmos, celosia, marigolds, salvia, sunflowers and zinnias.

* Transplant petunias, zinnias, geraniums and other summer bloomers.

* Plant perennials and dahlia tubers for summer bloom.

* Mid to late April is about the last chance to plant summer bulbs, such as gladiolus and tuberous begonias.

* Transplant lettuce seedlings. Choose varieties that mature quickly such as loose leaf.

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