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Baby it’s cold outside

THE FOUNTAIN in front of the General’s Daughter froze Thursday evening.

THE FOUNTAIN in front of the General’s Daughter froze Thursday evening.

By By Don Frances INDEX-TRIBUNE NEWS EDITOR

The current cold snap may have Sonoma residents firing up space heaters and slipping on icy roads. But no weather records will be broken this time, according to meteorologists.

Temperatures accompanying Friday’s half-inch of rain got cold and stayed there, with nighttime lows in the 20s. A low of 21 degrees was expected for Monday night.

Those are low numbers for this region, but not the lowest ever, said Bob Benjamin, a forecaster with the National Weather Service’s Western Region Headquarters.

For Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, “It doesn’t look like we’re going to get any records broken, at least in Sonoma County,” Benjamin said. “But it was very cold this morning,” he added Monday, “like 19 (degrees) out at Sonoma (County) airport.”

Still, the current cold snap had “some very formidable records” to beat, he said. In Sonoma, the record low stands at 17 degrees, set in 1972.

In fact, Benjamin said, for this period of time in early December, “just about all of the low temperatures were set in 1972.”

That’s significant, considering that records for Sonoma date back to 1893.

The cold snap of 1972 “was maybe a little colder than what we’re experiencing now, but not that much,” Benjamin said.

Sonoma police on Monday said they knew of no traffic accidents caused by icy conditions, but authorities advise caution while driving in the early morning, especially on shaded streets or over bridges.

A freeze warning will remain in effect throughout the region until Tuesday morning. Later in the week temperatures are expected to rise, with nighttime lows rising above the freezing mark by Thursday.

Despite the continuing cold temperatures, Tuesday is another “spare the air” day in the Bay Area, according to the Bay Area Air Quality Management District. Wood burning is banned both indoors and outdoors on Tuesday, for the full 24 hours.

Air quality in the Bay Area is forecast to be unhealthy. It is illegal for Bay Area residents to burn wood or other solid fuels in fireplaces, wood stoves and inserts, pellet stoves, outdoor fire-pits, or other wood-burning devices during spare the air days.