Cooler temperatures are on the way after a stretch of balmy days that made Thanksgiving celebrations feel downright summery last week.
The area’s first freezing overnight temperatures are expected to hit Wednesday morning and carry on into the weekend. A storm that could bring cool rain and freezing temperatures is expected to bring a quick blast of snow to the Sierra peaks as well.
“Winter is coming,” said Diana Henderson, forecaster with the National Weather Service.
Winter won’t officially arrive until Dec. 21, but temperatures are expected to get colder as the week wears on.
Today’s high in Santa Rosa was predicted to be 64 degrees, followed by a high of 54 degrees Tuesday and 50 degrees Wednesday.
The first overnight freeze was predicted for Wednesday morning, with temperatures dipping below 30 degrees.
There’s a very slight chance of rain in Santa Rosa on Tuesday and Wednesday, Henderson said.
The drop in temperatures and expected snowfall are the expected result of a storm that is predicted to come out of the Pacific Northwest
The storm could bring about eight inches of snow in the Sierra Nevada and snow could fall in areas as low as 2,000 feet, according to meteorologists.
A number of ski resorts have openings scheduled for Dec. 13, but some have opened their seasons already, with limited lift and trail access.
Homewood, Alpine Meadows and Tahoe Donner ski resorts have scheduled opening day on Dec. 13, while Mt. Rose near Reno is open with about 10 percent of its terrain available and Squaw Valley has also opened a number of lifts and runs for early-season skiers.
The North Coast’s first brush with freezing temperatures comes on the heels of the release of an “experimental” long-range forecast that predicts “mostly dry conditions for California,” especially in the southern regions of the state.
The forecast was conducted by the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences at the University of Colorado, Boulder for the California Department of Water Resources. State officials intend the experimental forecast to help residents, business owners and policymakers prepare for winter.
The National Weather Service typically does not make long-range winter weather forecasts.
California is heavily dependent on winter storms to sustain its water supply through the summer. The state typically depends on rainfall from December through February for half of its annual precipitation.
The water year runs from Oct. 1, 2013 through Sept. 20, 2014.
The Sacramento Bee contributed to this story. Staff Writer Kerry Benefield can be reached at 526-8671, kerry.benefield@press democrat.com or on Twitter @benefield.