Freezing temperatures will persist through early next week and will include the possibility of snow flurries in the Valley this weekend.
A record-breaking low of 26 degrees was recorded at the Modesto Airport early Thursday. The previous record was 28 degrees in 2011.
The weather today is expected to be the same but by this evening clouds will move in, raising temperatures slightly, said National Weather Service Meteorologist Brooke Bingaman.
“The unique thing about this storm is that we are looking at the possibility of a rain-snow mix even on the Valley floor,” Bingaman said. “Look up in the sky early Saturday morning and you might see some snow flurries, but it likely won’t stick.”
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Snow accumulation is expected as low as 500 feet above sea level. Knights Ferry is about 400 feet in elevation.
Bingaman advised against driving to the Sierra anytime between Friday afternoon and Saturday morning.
Emergency officials said there have been no reported deaths or major accidents related to the hard freeze. Homeless shelters, senior citizen centers and libraries have extended hours during the cold snap.
Stanislaus County Farm Bureau Government Affairs Director Tom Orvis said there are a few citrus groves on the county’s West Side that could be impacted by the freeze, but he hadn’t heard any of reports of substantial losses. He said the cold weather is good for other area crops such as almonds, walnuts, cherries and peaches.
Orvis said livestock that would be affected by the cold such as hogs and chickens are already in climate-controlled buildings, and cattle and horses can handle this type of weather; it’s extreme heat that poses a greater danger.
After the storm clears Sunday, the nighttime temperatures could be even lower than those experienced this week, Bingaman said. She expects them to go back above freezing possibly by Tuesday.