Talk about going cold turkey.
Thanksgiving Day is expected to dawn as the coldest on record in Santa Rosa, dipping to 26 degrees overnight as an arctic blast from Canada continues to blanket the West with a deep freeze.
"Cold, colder. It's going to be cold," said Steve Anderson, meteorologist forecaster at the National Weather Service.
The new low would break the previous Santa Rosa record of 27 degrees set in 1952. Overnight lows will nip at record territory again tonight, dipping to a frigid 27 degrees as the arctic chill lingers.
The good news is that things should thaw out by the time the turkey is served, with clear blue skies and sunshine coaxing the mercury up to 57 degrees by midday.
It will be OK to have a warm fire during the cold day and night. The Bay Area Air Quality Management District said there will be no Winter Spare the Air Alert issued for Thanksgiving.
But air quality officials urged people to refrain from wood burning, noting that if weather conditions trap smoke near the ground, a Spare the Air Alert could be issued by 2 p.m. today, which would ban burning for a full 24 hours on Friday.
The cold air settled in on Wednesday, bringing a low of 29 degrees at the Charles M. Schulz-Sonoma County Airport, but practically a heat wave compared to the minus 8 in Truckee or the 20 below in a northern Idaho town.
"It was minus 8 at my house this morning. The dogs' feet were freezing to the road. They couldn't walk very far," said Truckee resident Stefanie Olivieri.
The coldest spot Wednesday was 35 below in Calgary, Canada. But that's there.
Here in California, the Thanksgiving week cold snap is due to last into the weekend.
In Sebastopol early Wednesday, one weather watcher recorded 29 degrees and sent a comment to the National Weather Service: "Clear, cold, calm and frozen this morning. Heading for the Sierra but we really don't need to."
Wednesday's record low for Santa Rosa was 24 degrees set in 1931.
By Saturday the temperatures should rise into the low 40s, but it'll be a mixed blessing. The slightly warmer air will bring moisture with it, perhaps half an inch of rain, said AccuWeather meteorologist Mark Paquette.
"It'll be just a dreary day for shoppers," he said.
But with a dry winter predicted, however, Californians should cheer the arrival of just about any precipitation, especially storm like the last one that dumped feet of snow in the Sierras and gave the snowpack a good head start, Paquette said.
By Wednesday afternoon, Truckee had warmed to about 26 degrees, with sunny, bright blue skies, said lifelong resident and shop owner Stefanie Olivieri.
"We've had a lot of people in looking for hats and gloves and long underwear," said Olivieri, who owns Cabona's, a sportswear shop in downtown Truckee.
She said the town was busy Wednesday. "They're coming up early for the holiday, tucked into their homes and their rentals. The grocery stores are bustling."
So are the ski resorts, having received some of the biggest November snowfall totals in years.
"This was the perfect storm," said Andy Chapman, tourism director of the North Lake Tahoe Resort Association. "It came in fast, dropped a ton of snow, setting us up with superior snow conditions and skiing for the holiday weekend."
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