SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — A cold weather system spun bands of showers into the San Francisco Bay Area Sunday morning, bringing much needed relief to a region in the grips of a severe drought.
The National Weather Service said the cold, unstable air whipped up by the front was also triggering lightning strikes off shore that may roll into the northern regions of the Bay Area by early afternoon.READ MORE: COVID Reopening: 'We Have Confidence' About Fans At Ballparks On Opening Day, Newsom Says
🌩️⚡️Lightning being observed off the NorCal Coast this morning. Colder air behind the cold front has resulted in an unstable airmass. The instability led to some lightning. Best chance for lightning in the Bay Area is northern coastal waters and far North Bay. #cawx pic.twitter.com/eEilv6pURn
— NWS Bay Area (@NWSBayArea) December 13, 2020
Additionally, the region is facing the coastal flooding threat from King tides and monster waves were set to return to the famed Mavericks surf break.
Currently, much of the Bay Area is enduring severe or extreme drought conditions. The U.S. Drought Monitor map released on Thursday revealed that major portions of Napa, Lake and Solano counties had dropped into the extreme drought state.
About 1/2 inch of rain fell over much of the region on Friday — the first significant precipitation in months. Before the current round of weekend storms, San Francisco International had reported 4.47 inches of rain since Jan. 1st which is 12.58 inches below normal.
🎶Do you hear what I hear?🎶It's the sound of rain outside. Here's a morning radar update. Rain showers will continue to move through the region today as a cold front pushes through. Grab a cup of hot coffee, tea or hot chocolate and enjoy your Sunday. ☕️🍵 #cawx pic.twitter.com/m3VXzdvzWm
— NWS Bay Area (@NWSBayArea) December 13, 2020
“Rainfall totals through this evening are generally forecast to range from a quarter of an inch to an inch, except less than a quarter inch in our far southern interior valleys and locally up to 1.5 inches in the North Bay Mountains and Santa Cruz Mountains,” weather service forecasters.
Rain won’t be the only impact the storm front will have in the Bay Area. A northwest swell was also beginning to build, triggering a high surf warning.
“A large, long period northwest swell train will arrive later Sunday and build overnight into Monday, creating hazardous seas,” the weather service said. “The large swell will coincide with the peak King Tides Sunday through Tuesday.”READ MORE: Fremont Police Surround Home Following Shooting; 1 Injured
The King tides — whipped up by the gravitational impacts of the aligned Sun and Moon — has triggered a coastal flood advisory for the Bay Area.
“This (the King tides) will allow the intrusion of seawater into low lying areas and generate minor coastal flooding,” forecasters said. “The two main time periods of concern occur during the lowest of the tides (Sunday afternoon) and the highest of the high tides Monday and Tuesday mornings.”
The weather front will also bring back massive waves for a second straight week to the legendary Mavericks surf break off the San Mateo County coast.
“A large, long period northwest swell is forecast to arrive along the coast this afternoon through Monday, bringing large breaking waves of 15 to 20 feet, locally up to 25 feet, at favored breakpoints,” forecasters said.
Last week, the high surf conditions drew some of the world’s most talented surfers to Mavericks, where 30–to-40 foot, 3-story-high waves were breaking just off Pillar Point.
“It was good out there,” said surfer Chase LaRue. “There are some bombing sets. There are some living legends out there, just catching basically anything that’s coming through.”
It was a picture perfect day for world class surfing, and Tuesday’s conditions did bring the best in the world. They put on a spectacular show. Like every Mavericks, watching was both exhilarating and horrifying. Those coming off the water found themselves comparing the day to epic years past.
“Once, I think it was like 2016, it was like this, just out of control, huge, scary,” laughed Connor Beatty. “I was doing the same thing, sitting at the channel, watching.”
“I was hoping that I could get one wave for my country,” said Hide Minami of Japan. “I got the one wave, inside, small one. Outside, big ones? Untouchable for me.”
“I didn’t break my board,” Beatty laughed. “So I’m stoked.”
Also stoked were the spectators who found themselves watching the sudden revival of this famed event.MORE NEWS: Experts: 17 Million People Cut From Biden COVID Stimulus Deal
“It’s a big crowd,” said Richard Patterson. “Once the word gets out. It’s getting more and more popular.”