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Cold Front Sends Temperatures Tumbling To Record Lows

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) -- Temperatures tumbled throughout the San Francisco Bay Area to record lows early Tuesday as a cold front tightened its grip on the region.

The National Weather Service had issued an overnight frost advisory and Mother Nature delivered as temperatures at San Francisco International Airport fell to 36 degrees, breaking the record of 37° set back in 2011.

Same was true in Oakland where a 33 degree reading topped the 34 set in 2006. Napa also set at record at 23 degrees, easily topping the mark of 28 degrees set in 1920.

Livermore tied its record of 28 degrees set in 1942, Santa Rosa tied its mark of 26 degrees set 105 years ago, San Rafael's 32 degrees matched its record low set in 2006 and Salinas had a reading of 28 degrees matching the low set in 1953.

While the weather front was having a dramatic impact on temperatures through mid-week, it will not be a major rain or snow producer. However, snow levels will drop to a 1000 feet or lower if any precipitation does fall. Bay Area peaks and the top of the Salesforce Tower in San Francisco could get a dusting of snow.

Around the Bay Area shelters were adding capacity to help house the homeless during the frigid conditions. Extra beds had been added at a warming center at San Francisco's Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital, Gene Friend Recreation Center, First Unitarian Church, the Hummingbird Place, Mission Neighborhood Resource Center and the United Council of Human Services.

Hard freeze warnings were posted overnight up and down the agriculturally rich Sacramento and San Joaquin valleys, meaning temperatures would be 28 degrees (-2.2 Celsius) or lower for two or more consecutive hours, potentially threatening crops. The warnings expired at midmorning but were set to go back into effect Tuesday night and into Wednesday morning.

Joe Del Bosque, owner of Del Bosque Farms on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley, said he's concerned that there's been damage to his cherry trees and his asparagus, but even more so to his almond crop.

"They're almost in full bloom so the whole crop is exposed and we're pretty concerned," Del Bosque said.

He said temperatures dipped as low as 29 degrees (-1.6 Celsius) off and on for two hours at his 2,000-acre farm overnight. Damage won't be apparent to any of his crop for at least a day or two, he said.

Like most farmers, he's irrigating his orchards because water around the crops helps moderate temperatures.

"That's about all we can do, and just pray," he said.

For skiers and snowboarders, the cold brought some improvement in the season.

Bear Mountain Resort in the San Bernardino Mountains east of Los Angeles said it received 4 inches (10 centimeters) of natural snow from the system but artificial snowmaking benefited from one of the coldest nights of the year. Mammoth Mountain in the Sierra Nevada reported about the same snowfall and was just 16 degrees (-8.8 Celsius) at noon.

The cold followed a blustery weekend storm system that churned whitecaps in coastal waters and whipped up sandstorms along some beaches but delivered little precipitation.

"This last storm system essentially paved the way for a series of weaker storm systems to follow in its footsteps, essentially opening the storm door for the winter once again," the National Weather Service said.

The National Weather Service said another system was approaching the Bay Area and was predicted to arrive late Tuesday night into Wednesday morning.

Look for an increase in cloud cover and potential for showers out over the coast initially.

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