Thursday's official start to spring is likely to go unnoticed on the North Coast, where the weather has had people donning shorts and flip-flops for some time now.

At Santa Rosa Ski and Sports, customers have been scooping up bathing suits and other beachwear, said salesman Ian Ferguson.

"It seems kind of early," he said.

Ferguson said the store is still organizing a bus trip to Tahoe on March 29 for one last fling on the ski slopes. But exactly which resort they'll head to has yet to be decided. Homewood, the original destination, is closing Sunday for lack of snow.

Amelia Richmond, a spokeswoman for Squaw Valley, said there's still plenty of snow on the mountain for a late-season outing. The resort is hosting the U.S. National Ski Championships this weekend.

But just in case the skiing doesn't pan out, the resort is planning to open its mountain-top hot tub this Saturday, Richmond said.

"We're working on a great lineup of spring parties as well as great deals for pass holders from other resorts who want to get in on all the fun," she said.

North Coast residents don't have to venture far to take advantage of the boffo weather. In Santa Rosa, high temperatures are expected to be in the 70s at least through Sunday, while at the coast, sunlight should dapple the water.

"It's going to be really nice," said Diana Henderson, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

She said there's a slight chance of rain starting Monday night, but any rain clouds should clear out by Wednesday.

The official start of spring is tied to the vernal equinox, when days and nights are approximately equal everywhere and the sun rises and sets due east and west. Many years, the date is eagerly anticipated, if only symbolically as evidence winter will soon be a thing of the past.

But no such relief greets the calendar change this year on the North Coast, where many pine for more rain to help ease drought conditions following an extraordinarily dry 2013 and January.

The dry winter has made for an interesting mushroom growing season on the coast. Porcinis, for example, are still abundant, months after they normally come and go.

"The weather is off the charts. I'm sure that has something to do with it," said Darvin DeShazer, a biology teacher at St. Vincent de Paul High School and cofounder of the Sonoma County Mycological Association.

The association is hosting its monthly wild mushroom foray Saturday at Salt Point State Park. The outing should offer the odd combination of hunting mushrooms in relatively beautiful weather, as opposed to the conditions fungi normally thrive in.

DeShazer said he's spotted types of mushrooms that he's not seen in a decade. Conversely, he's seen fewer toxic varieties, perhaps due to the sunny conditions.

He said the rain showers came, "and now everything is coming up now."

Saturday's foray, which is at 10 a.m., is limited to the first 40 people who sign up at the Woodside campground parking lot. More details are at

You can reach Staff Writer Derek Moore at 521-5336 or On Twitter @deadlinederek.