Rain, snow head for California after days of record heat
San Francisco — An Oregon cold front is bringing a soggy end to a brief heat wave that had delighted Californians flocking outdoors.
The National Weather Service says that winds will increase throughout Wednesday with rains starting mid-afternoon in the San Francisco Bay Area.
“It’ll be a wet commute tonight, so be patient and allow extra time to get home,” forecaster Steve Anderson in the service’s Monterey office said. “It’s still wintertime.”
After three days of record-breaking heat, a new system brings a quarter-inch to a half-inch of rain to most parts of the region Wednesday and Thursday.
The system is expected to drop between 1 and 2 feet of new snow in California’s highest peaks, the National Weather Service said.
Beaches in Southern California were crowded after the holiday weekend saw record-breaking heat from Los Angeles to San Diego. The high in downtown Los Angeles hit 90 degrees on Tuesday, breaking the old record of 88 for the day that was set in 1977, according to the weather service. San Diego’s high of 89 was 8 degrees above the 1981 record. The airport in San Francisco recorded 72, beating a 2007 high.
Meanwhile, the East Coast and the South struggled through a deep freeze and tornadoes.
A treacherous mix of snow, sleet and freezing rain caused car crashes from the Mid-Atlantic states through Pennsylvania to northern New England on Tuesday, a day after twisters tore through parts of the South.
At least three deaths were reported on slick roads, all in Virginia, and thousands were left without power from weather-caused outages.
Phoenix was also had record high temps. Tuesday’s high topped out at 87 degrees, which broke the previous record of 84 set in 2014.
The NWS is forecasting a high of 90 degrees for Wednesday in what would be the earliest 90-degree day on record for the desert city.
The normal temperature for this time of year is in the 70s. The previous mark was set on Feb. 24, 1986. Phoenix also saw record highs last week.
The surge in temperatures has been bringing rattlesnakes out of hibernation. A fire agency in southern Arizona started getting calls in the last two weeks from panicked residents about the poisonous snakes on their yards and patios, something they don’t usually see until late March and early April.
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