Overnight at the edge of the state, temperatures dropped in the Bridgeport Valley, reaching minus 27 degrees in the early morning hours.
The mountainous area near Yosemite National Park, situated between Mammoth Lakes and Lake Tahoe, is used to cooler temperatures but has been running about 30 degrees below its 10-degree average after two weeks of storms that hit California.
“That valley specifically can get very cold,” said Tony Fuentes, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, attributing the extreme cold to “light winds, clear skies and lots of new snow on the ground.”
The temperature is much colder than this time last year when it dipped to 2 degrees and is tied for the 27th coldest day on record for Bridgeport in Mono County where, according to the US Census, they reside about 550 people.
The coldest day on record in the area came on January 31, 1937, according to Fuentes, when the temperature dipped to minus 37 degrees.
The state record was set shortly before, on January 20, 1937, when Boca, just north of Lake Tahoe, suffered minus 45 degrees. A Los Angeles Times article that week said the cold front brought “influenza, frozen toes, burst water pipes and car radiators, icy streets and traffic disruption.”
The temperature is expected to remain in the minus 10s for the first half of the week, Fuentes said.
In Southern California, temperatures will remain about 5 degrees below average, meteorologist Mike Wofford said, as light Santa Ana winds are expected to pick up Sunday night into Monday in the valleys and the mountains. Over the weekend in the downtown Los Angeles area, lows will drop to the low 40s, with highs in the low to mid 60s.
The drier weather is a far cry from the heavy rains that have inundated parts of Los Angeles County and devastated areas across the state in recent weeks. But it’s not out of the ordinary for this time of year.
“It will feel fresher than it usually is,” Wofford said. “But it’s not unusual to have offshore winds in the winter, and it’s certainly not unusual to have a longer period of dry weather.”