Local News

Friday, Feb 08 2013 06:52 PM

Freeze warning issued as temperatures tumble

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    By Felix Adamo / The Californian

    Storm clouds gather where Bolthouse Drive ends, west of Buena Vista Road in southwest Bakersfield.

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    By Felix Adamo / The Californian

    As clouds darken the sky west of Bakersfield, rays of sunlight illuminate powerlines along Panama Road.

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    By Felix Adamo / The Californian

    A truck drives through the rain in downtown Bakersfield at the corner of 20th and Eye Streets.

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    By Felix Adamo / The Californian

    Couples take shelter from the rain as they wait for valet service at The Mark restaurant in downtown Bakersfield.

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Watch out for the three P's this weekend.

"We always call it the three P's -- pipes, plants and your pets," meteorologist Jeff Barlow of the National Weather Service in Hanford said Friday afternoon.

That's because your pipes could freeze, your plants (or crops) could be damaged and your pets could be harmed by the cold snap taking hold in Kern County.

Already, the Grapevine was shuttered in both directions shortly after 4:15 p.m. Friday as snow fell on Interstate 5. You can get the latest road conditions by calling 1-800-GAS-ROAD.

And because of the imminent cold -- and the periods of time it's forecast to last -- the National Weather Service issued a freeze warning that's in effect from the start of Saturday to 9 a.m. Monday for the Central and Southern San Joaquin Valley.

Temperatures in many areas are expected to drop to 32 degrees and below by Sunday morning, and again Monday morning, for as long as 10 hours at a stretch, according to the NWS Hanford website.

Outlying areas could see temperatures fall as low as 25 degrees, while urban areas may see lows of about 32 degrees with frost likely, the NWS reported.

The coldest temperatures usually occur between 5 and 6 a.m., Barlow said.

"We're concerned about early-blooming crops that could suffer some damage," Barlow said, explaining that with the bit of a warm spell we've enjoyed, some stone fruits had begun to bloom.

Already Friday, residents of the Tehachapi Valley and surrounding areas saw light snow falling.

A winter weather advisory is in effect until 3 a.m. Saturday for above 3,000 feet in Kern County's mountains, Barlow said.

Up to four inches of snow are expected at pass level with three to five inches above the passes, the NWS website said.

Stormy weather moving through Southern California has brought heavy snow to the mountains and damaging lightning strikes.

A lightning strike late Friday morning in Riverside County started a small fire on the roof of an Applebee's restaurant in the Eastvale area. The county Fire Department says no one was hurt but damage was estimated at $10,000.

Elsewhere, Southern California Edison spokesman Dan Chung says a possible lightning strike on an electrical substation knocked out power to about 29,000 customers in Huntington Park and surrounding cities.

Intense hail has also fallen in some areas. The National Weather Service says the storm could dump up to 10 inches of snow in the highest mountains and the level could drop to 2,000 feet.

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