SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — After months of dry weather, a series of storm fronts stretching hundreds of miles off the Northern California coast were set to begin rolling through the Bay Area starting Wednesday afternoon.
By the time the storms pass through, forecasters predicted as much as 1.5 inches could have fallen in San Francisco and as much as 4 inches in the Santa Cruz Mountains.
The first pulse of rainy weather began moving into the Bay Area early Wednesday. The storm was expected to bring light-to-moderate rain to the North Bay Tuesday morning and to the rest of the Bay Area Tuesday afternoon. Lingering showers would stick around through the evening. Rains totals would range from 0.25 of an inch to 0.75 of an inch.
“It’ll be a nuisance for drivers, but otherwise no other major impacts are expected,” said KPIX 5 Chief Meteorologist Paul Deanno.
Along with showers, the storm fronts will usher in hazardous surf along the Northern California coast. The National Weather Service issued a high surf advisory, warning of westerly swells with heights of 13-to-16 feet at 16-to-20 second duration. There will also be breaking waves along the shore of around 18-to-245 feet.
The main event of the week was expected to move in late Wednesday through Thursday afternoon, with the heaviest rain likely falling late Wednesday night and early Thursday morning.
“It’ll be windy and I wouldn’t be surprised if a Wind Advisory is issued for the North Bay Mountains within the next day or two,” Deanno said.
Snow levels will drop to 4,000 feet, dumping “a foot of snow accumulation above 4500 feet, with several feet above 6000 feet, through late Thursday night,” the weather service said.
The Santa Cruz Mountains will likely get the most rain from this storm — 2-3 inches.
“Urban areas will likely get 0.50 inch to 1.25 inches rain, which is more than enough for a really messy morning commute on Thursday,” Deanno said. “That’ll likely be the biggest widespread local impact. Rain will taper to showers Thursday evening.”
A third wave of light-to-moderate rain was expected to arrive in the Bay Area Saturday, dumping .25 of inch to nearly an inch before clearing out Sunday.
Deanno said this week’s rainfall might be enough to bring us back to ‘near-normal’ for the first two months of the water year which begins October 1.