Overnight at the edge of the state, temperatures dropped in the area around Bridgeport, hitting minus 27 degrees in the early morning hours Saturday.
The mountainous area near Yosemite National Park — situated between Mammoth Lakes and Lake Tahoe — is accustomed to cooler temperatures but since the two weeks of storms that hit California, it has been running about 30 degrees below its average low of 10 degrees for the time of year, according to National Weather Service meteorologist Tony Fuentes.
“That valley specifically can get very cold,” said Fuentes, chalking the extreme cold up to “light winds, clear skies and a bunch of new snow on the ground.”
The temperature is much colder than it was this time last year, when it hit 2 degrees. Saturday’s reading is tied for the 27th coldest day on record in Mono County’s Bridgeport, where, according to the U.S. Census, about 550 people reside.
The area’s coldest recorded day arrived on Jan. 31, 1937, according to Fuentes, when the temperature dropped to minus 37 degrees.
The statewide record occurred shortly before, on Jan. 20, 1937, when Boca — just north of Lake Tahoe — weathered minus 45 degrees. A Los Angeles Times article that week said the cold front brought “influenza, frozen toes, broken water pipes and automobile radiators, icy streets and traffic disruption.”
The temperature is expected to remain in the minus teens for the first half of the week, Fuentes said.
Kate, a 31-year-old resident of the area who declined to give her last name citing privacy concerns, said the area has been monitored for avalanches in recent weeks and that the roads throughout Mono County have been icy. But she and other residents know how to handle the cold.
“I had to start my truck 30 minutes early just so it was warm in there,” she said about how she prepared for her four-minute drive to work Saturday. She said that she and her husband use a wood stove to heat their house, and check in on their cat throughout their workday.
In Southern California, temperatures will remain below average by about 5 degrees, meteorologist Mike Wofford said, as light Santa Ana winds are expected to increase Sunday night to Monday in the valleys and in the mountains. Over the weekend in the downtown Los Angeles area, lows will drop to the 40s, with highs in the low to mid-60s.
The drier weather is a far cry from the intense rains that flooded parts of Los Angeles County and devastated areas throughout the state in recent weeks. But it isn’t out of the ordinary for this time of year.
“It will feel cooler than it usually is,” Wofford said. “But it’s not uncommon to get offshore winds in the winter, and certainly not unusual to get a longer stretch of dry weather.”