The cold snap that has blanketed the Bay Area with sub-freezing temperatures this week is forecast to continue for days, and the National Weather Service has issued another regional freeze warning for Sunday night –- the fifth in less than a week.
The freeze warning was issued for all Bay Area counties except San Francisco, and the National Weather Service had already scheduled the warning to be issued again Monday night at 10 p.m. and Tuesday morning at 9 a.m.
As of 8 p.m. Sunday, the coldest spots in the Bay Area were already near freezing as the recent weather continued chilling local residents for another night.
Temperatures across the region were expected to dip to the 30s and 20s overnight Sunday, with the lowest – low 20s — expected in areas like Santa Rosa, Napa, Livermore, Fairfield, and Morgan Hill, according to KTVU meteorologist Mark Tamayo.
“A few inland valleys could drop to 18 or 19 degrees,” said Tamayo.
Tamayo also said that records for overnight lows would likely be broken in a few spots; most of the records still standing date back to Dec. 1972..
The cold snap has been unusually long in its duration, as most last two to three days, according to Tamayo.
“This will end up lasting nearly a week,” said Tamayo.
The freeze warning is a reminder to for Bay Area residents to keep the plants and animals warm. Also, exposed pipes could burst with the temperatures below freezing for over 3 hours.
At King’s Nursery in Santa Rosa – one area that’s seen some of the coldest temperatures — employees have been fielding a lot of frantic calls from customers in recent days trying to save their plants.
Nursery manager Cindy Stewart said even though she stocked four times their usual number of frost cloths, the store ran out mid-week because customer demand was so high.
Stewart said that most years, local gardeners are able to ease into the frost season. But with Monday’s freeze warning being the fifth in six days, a lot of people’s gardens are suffering if they didn’t take the proper precautions.
“The main difference that it makes is that those plants that usually would survive a frost but maybe take a hit — those might go away. Those might die from a frost,” said Stewart. “When you have prolonged cold for that many days, it doesn’t have a chance to recover.”
At Mark’s Christmas Trees, another Santa Rosa establishment, owner Mark Lazzini said the chilly temperatures didn’t seem to deter folks from coming out to shop. But many were bundled up in big jackets, hats, and scarves.
“It’s cold — that’s why I have a hat on,” said Josephine Dunn, a Santa Rosa resident. “But we come here every year to get our tree.”
“I like it. It’s nice — nicer than the heat and it goes with Christmas,” said Jessica Tawney, also a Santa Rosa resident.
According to Rosemary Barnes, a spokesperson for San Jose International airport, a number of flights to and from San Jose were delayed or cancelled due to weather issues.
At least one flight from San Jose to Houston was delayed because the place needed to be de-iced, she said. Barnes added that given Monday morning’s chilly forecast, it was likely airlines will be de-icing Monday morning as well.
Tamayo said the storm on Friday night added more moisture to the surface. Combined with the subfreezing temps, the residual moisture will lead to black ice concerns, which means drivers should continue to use caution on the roads, especially over the next few days.
But the cold snap won’t last forever as the frigid air mass was expected to gradually move out of the area this week, and temperatures will begin to warm a few degrees each day by midweek, according to Tamayo.
Additional reporting provided by KTVU reporter Cara Liu.