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Record cold in Santa Rosa, snow in Mendocino County

  • Sonoma County maintenance worker Rick Pollio spreads crushed lava rock for drivers to have more traction on an ice-covered bridge on Geysers Road in Geyserville on Dec. 7, 2013. (Alvin Jornada / The Press Democrat)

The North Coast was given an early preview of winter Friday with record cold in Santa Rosa and snow and ice forcing the closure of Highway 101 in Mendocino County.

The temperature dropped to 22 degrees in Santa Rosa, shattering the previous record of 26 for the same date in 1931 and 1978.

Snow proved to be hazardous in Mendocino County, where Highway 101 was closed for a couple of hours in the afternoon from Redwood Valley to Willits, and north past Laytonville.

Snow, Ice In Sonoma County

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Six big rigs were stuck in the snow and ice and there were reports of several more that were jack-knifed, according to a CHP dispatcher in Garberville.

By evening, the snow had turned to rain, allowing the highway to reopen.

Snow also dusted peaks in Sonoma, Napa and Lake counties, including falling as low as 1,700 feet in Sonoma County's Hood Mountain Regional Park.

“We heard from the rangers there was a light dusting of snow at the top,” said Meda Freeman, county parks spokeswoman.

She said some planned group hikes at Hood Mountain this morning were canceled because of concern over conditions on Los Alamos Road leading to the park.

“It's not the best day to ask people to come up there, on a narrow, winding road that could be icy,” Freeman said.

Emergency workers were occcupied in Sonoma County with downed trees and wires, and car crashes on wet roads, but no major injuries were reported.

While the snow caused some havoc on roads farther north, it didn't last long.

“It's been snowing since about noon,” Nancy Stipe, an administrative assistant with the Willits Fire Department, said Friday afternoon around 3:30.

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