The Bay Area is expected to experience the first significant rainy weather in the last six months, and residents have just until Thursday to enjoy warm and sunny weather as a powerful storm travels across the Gulf of Alaska.
The storm is expected to land on Friday and bring high-speed winds, lower temperatures, and pour light showers onto the region. The weather would bring some relief to the scorched area that has not seen rain for nearly half a year.
Forecasts earlier this week said that there was only a low chance for rain this weekend. National Weather Service meteorologist Jeff Lorber noted that since then, however, the chances of downpour have been rising.
Lorber said the storm would bring the first of hopefully many significant rains in the season but noted that only some areas would be affected. The meteorologist added that the region could see between a few hundredths to a quarter-inch of rain.
The forecast estimates that the highest chances for rain would occur on Friday night up until Saturday morning. The northern parts of the Bay Area have a 20% to 40% chance to experience rain while San Francisco and the central Bay Area are looking at a 40% possibility of precipitation. Weather experts forecast that the rain would be minimal and spread out across the region, the San Francisco Gate reported.
Golden Gate Weather Services meteorologist Jan Null said residents could finally experience the fall season this weekend due to the rain. The storm would also bring colder and breezier environmental conditions.
Forecasters also expect a second round of rain and isolated thunderstorms to drop on Saturday morning, while a third downpour would most likely hit late Saturday to early Sunday. Some forecasts also show that more rain would fall next week between Tuesday and Wednesday.
Weather experts also said the region could see small amounts of snowfall in the higher elevations. The National Weather Service has since issued a winter storm watch beginning on Friday until Sunday.
Forecasts said that about six to 12 inches of snowfall would accumulate in areas at over 5,000 feet elevation while higher regions could experience up to 15 inches, the SFist reported.
The weather service said they anticipated a state of hazardous mountain travel during the snowfall, especially between Saturday night and Sunday morning. While the accompanying snow would quickly melt in the coming weeks, it provides enough safety to reduce fire danger in the area, similar to the dampening rain.
Yosemite National Park officials closed off the Tioga Road and Glacier Point roads starting from 6 p.m. Thursday and is expected to last until Monday. The restriction was implemented in response to the snow forecast.
Forecasters estimate that residents could experience temperature drops of as much as 15 degrees Fahrenheit. Experts expect the Bay Area to experience weekend highs of around 50 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit while nightly lows could see them drop to about 40 degrees.
The worst fire season in modern California’s history is the result of dry trees, brushes, grasses, and spontaneous lightning storms over the past few months. This year alone, over 4.1 million acres have been engulfed in flames.
On Thursday, the U.S. Drought Monitor revealed that 67% of California experienced some form of drought, mostly on the northern side. The numbers represent the largest portion of the state with scorching conditions since 2016.
The yearly average of rainfall that San Francisco experiences during October is 1.12 inches. However, this year, the same timeframe only saw about 0.01 inch of rain. Null said that it would require multiple sufficiently strong storms to even out the loss of precipitation in the region, the Times Herald Online reported.