Mild weekend to usher out summer season

August 29, 2002 12:00 am

By LENORE RUTHERFORD

Shirt-sleeve weather, even at the highest elevations in the Mother Lode, is forecast for the last three-day fling of the summer vacation season.

Campers may need sweatshirts late nights and early mornings, but they can count on warm, near-normal weather the rest of the time, according to National Weather Service forecasts.

A slight cooling trend will extend through the weekend, with foothills lows in the 50s to low 60s, and highs in the 80s to low 90s.

That's good news for the thousands of people who traditionally spend Labor Day weekend in the foothills and high country.

One word of caution: Fire restrictions are still in effect, and no fires are permitted outside of defined areas.

Fire danger remains high because grass, brush and trees are extremely dry and ready to burn, said Tuolumne County Fire Marshal Kary Hubbard.

"We need rain before we can start thinking about lower fire danger," she said. "We still have that window of opportunity during the later part of the day when a major wildfire can start.

"This is an especially bad time for grass fires, and those are the ones that cause the most injuries because they move so fast."

In addition to being careful in recreation areas, Hubbard said, people should avoid using outdoor power equipment at their homes during afternoons.

The expected high temperatures in the 80s and 90s in Sonora this weekend are well below the record highs for the same dates, which range from 104 to 108.

Low temperatures in the forecast are in the 50s and 60s, while the record lows for the dates range from 40 to 43.

The national high temperature extremes were a high Wednesday of 117 at Death Valley and a low this morning of 31 at Moose, Wyo.

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