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Winter Weather Moves In; Cold, Wet Weekend On Tap

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SAN FRANCISCO (CBS) – Cold, wet weather began moving into the Bay Area on Friday, with no sign of letting up until at least the end of the weekend.

KCBS’ Chris Filippi Reports:

After nearly a week of warm, sunny weather, a cold low pressure system descended from the coast of British Columbia, bringing a rainy forecast throughout the region, as well as snow at higher elevations, strong winds, and possibly thunderstorms.

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“One thing about this system, it’s going to be cold,” explained National Weather Service forecaster Johnny Powell. “So we expect snow down there about 6 inches all the way down to 2,000 feet, in some places even 1,500 feet.”

That was the news ski resorts, not to mention outdoor enthusiasts, wanted to hear.

“As a matter of fact, it’s right on track,” Powell said of the ski season. “Traditionally the snowy season starts right around Thanksgiving, and we’re a week early.”

Boreal was already up and running. Northstar-at-Tahoe and Heavenly hoped to open Friday. Squaw Valley hoped to open Saturday.

And while that was reason enough for many to consider hitting the road, Powell warned that the storm could spell trouble on the roadways.

“There are always whiteout conditions, especially when you get up higher in the Sierra with the wind and the snow, you get a foot of snow and the winds gusting 40, 50 mph.”

The weather service advised anyone who was planning to spend the weekend doing outdoor activities or travel to monitor the latest forecasts and prepare for the possibility of potentially hazardous winter storm weather.

“If you can delay, don’t go. But if you have to, be prepared. Take all the necessary precautions you need,” advised Powell.

In the Bay Area, rain was expected to begin falling in the northern Bay Area counties early Friday, reaching San Francisco and the Peninsula as the day wore on.

The Monterey Bay region was also expected to experience some rain on Friday night.

Current Conditions In Your Area

The entire area would continue to receive rain throughout the day on Saturday. Though the rain was predicted to be steady, it was not expected to fall in large amounts.

Saturday night, gusty westerly winds are expected with local gusts over 30 mph possible. In addition, a pool of cooler air drifts in. This will lead to the possibility of an isolated Thunderstorm containing small hail.

While higher elevations could receive over an inch of rain by Sunday, urban areas were expected to see less than half an inch of rainfall over the weekend. Many of the area’s surrounding peaks that exceed 3,000 feet in elevation expected some snowfall.

Mt. Hamilton could see a few snow flakes on Saturday, Mt. Hamilton and Diablo may see a nice dusting on Sunday.

Expect low 50s from the Coast to our Inland locations all weekend with widespread showers for both “The Big Game” Saturday and 49er Game Sunday.

A lingering shower is still in the Monday forecast with clear skies Tuesday, Wednesday and into Thanksgiving Thursday.

The weather trackers added that there was also a slight chance of thunderstorms over the weekend in the impacted areas, which included all or parts of San Francisco, Santa Cruz, San Mateo, Marin, Monterey, Contra Costa, Benito, Sonoma, Santa Clara, and Alameda counties.

Gusty western winds were also predicted to accompany the cold front, with Saturday night winds expected to reach or exceed 30 mph.

(© 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Bay City News contributed to this report.)

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