High winds, cold temperatures coming to Valley today

jguy@fresnobee.comMarch 5, 2012 

The National Weather Service was predicting high winds today for the central San Joaquin Valley followed by freezing temperatures overnight.

A high wind advisory was expected to run from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. The wind is expected to usher cold temperatures into the region and a freeze watch was set to take effect from late tonight through early Wednesday.

Winds are expected to increase from 20 mph to 30 mph by Tuesday morning, with gusts up to 40 mph. The breezes are expected to be strongest this afternoon and evening and diminish by sunset.

Winds like that are expected to whip up dust that will reduce visibility in some places, particularly along Interstate 5 and the Valley's west side. Drivers of high-profile vehicles such as big rigs and campers were being cautioned.

Temperatures in the coolest parts of the Valley may dip as low as 29 degrees by the early morning hours of Wednesday, according to the weather service. Pacific Gas & Electric Co. warned customers that the winds may knock out some power lines and said it would be a good idea to have battery-operated lighting on hand.

Power outages can be reported at (800) 743-5002, but the utility company urged customers to first check with neighbors to determine if an outage is limited to their home or extends to nearby areas.

High winds often knock down power lines and PG&E cautioned customers to treat any down lines as if they are live and stay away from them. Notify the utility at (800) 743-5002.

The windy weather will move in as a high-pressure system over the Valley weakens, the weather service says. Very little rainfall is expected from the weather front and the cooler temperatures are expected to be short-lived, with warming temperatures expected by Thursday.

The reproter may be reached at jguy@fresnobee.com or (559) 441-6339.