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Blistering hot temps to fall drastically, prompting alert

POSTED June 1, 2012 6:53 p.m.

Break out the sunscreen for this weekend, but don’t put away the umbrella just yet.

The National Weather Service’s most recent forecast calls for an unseasonable cold front to hit the Central Valley on Monday, dropping temperatures by 15 to 20 degrees and possibly bringing rain. In the mountains, snow may fall.

“Right now there’s a pretty good degree of confidence in the forecast models that we’re going to have some cooler temperatures,” said Darren Van Cleave, NWS meteorologist.

Currently, NWS forecasts a high of 76 degrees for Monday, with a 30 percent chance of showers. On Tuesday, temperatures could drop further to a high of 73, though no rain is expected.

The unexpected cold weather for Monday and Tuesday led the NWS to issue a Special Weather Statement on Friday, similar to the service’s traditional severe weather warnings and advisories. The statement projected “much cooler and unsettled weather,” and urged hikers and outdoor enthusiasts to prepare for the possibility of a “dramatic change in the weather.”

“Even though it’s still several days out, we just felt we should start to put some kind of message out about it,” Van Cleave said, noting the forecast could change.

The drop to the 70s will come suddenly, following a high temperature of 100 degrees on Friday. That high was still short of the record high of 104, set in 1960.

The NWS forecasts a Saturday high of 91, and a Sunday high of 89 before the forecasted 16 degree drop on Monday.

Van Cleave noted that the sort of temperature drop projected for early next week is not uncommon to mid-latitude climates. Weather in areas like the Central Valley experiences frequent changes, alternating from cooler than normal to warmer than expected.

The cold front should depart by Thursday, when temperatures return to a more seasonable high of 87. Those extended forecasts indicate that the coming cooler weather – and the potential rain – will not be here to stay.

“This is not a signal of an extended period,” Van Cleave said. “It’s just maybe a one-to-three day thing.”

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