Sonoma County on Tuesday braced for the coldest temperatures of the fall. Men and women hustling down Santa Rosa Avenue tugged their parkas and trench coats closer. Area nurseries pulled protective covers over delicate plants. And homeless shelters prepared for a rush of people seeking a warm place to spend the night.
Expect freezing temperatures on Wednesday and Thursday mornings, the National Weather Service warned.
"It's gonna be cold," said forecaster Bob Benjamin, adding that temperatures could be at or near record lows. He predicted a low of 28 degrees in downtown Santa Rosa Wednesday morning, with temperatures only climbing to 50. The thermometer is expected to sink to 26 Thursday morning before reaching a high of 48. The record for both days is 24 degrees, according to Press Democrat records. At the Santa Rosa airport, temperatures could be even lower, bottoming out at 24 degrees Wednesday morning and 22 Thursday morning.
Cold Weather Hits Sonoma County
And in the valleys outside Santa Rosa, thermometers could register in the teens. There is a chance of light, cold rain over the weekend and even snow at elevations above 2,000 feet.
Temperatures are only expected to warm by a few degrees later in the week, Benjamin said. He warned that roads could be icy on Saturday morning, especially in mountainous areas.
Officials urged people to cover exposed pipes with old towels or rags to keep them from bursting, cover sensitive plants and make sure pets have some kind of shelter.
"It's not going to be one of the most comfortable weekends," Benjamin said.
Sonoma County's emergency shelters were mostly full Tuesday, when cold weather apparently drove a Sebastopol homeless man to check for unlocked front doors of homes near downtown. The man, who was barefoot, told officers he'd wanted to get into a house to get warm and sleep.
He also said he'd hoped to find a coat, but apparently could not find a home with an unlocked door, said Sebastopol police Sgt. Mike Nielsen.
Officers found the man on South Main Street but did not detain him. The resident who reported him didn't want the man arrested and officers didn't witness a crime.