The Bay Area’s unusually sunny Christmas weekend is coming to a climactic end, just in time to deflate Santa. On Monday night through Tuesday, a powerful storm heading from Guam in the western Pacific Ocean will drench the region and shake loose holiday decorations with blustery winds reaching up to 50 miles per hour in some spots.
The downpour is forecast to start Monday evening in the North Bay and progress southward overnight. Rainfall is expected to ease up by Tuesday afternoon after soaking the coastal mountain ranges in the Sonoma and Santa Cruz areas with up to five inches of rain. Lower regions in San Jose, San Francisco, and the East Bay will see one to two inches of rain, according to the National Weather Service.
The other big attraction: howling winds.
“We can expect wind gusts, especially on the coast and the coastal ranges,” said Brian Garcia, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service’s San Francisco Bay Area office. “It will definitely be breezy enough to blow around those inflatable Santas in people’s yards.”
After the initial storm system, the Bay Area will remain damp into New Year’s eve as an “unsettled” weather pattern brings scattered daily showers nearly every day.
“Models are suggesting that the next break from rain will not be until after most people have stopped singing Auld Lang Syne,” the weather service said in a Sunday morning update, referring to the 18th-century Scottish melody often sung at the stroke of midnight on Dec. 31.
Today: Merry Warm
Tomorrow Night: Rain in the North Bay
Tuesday: Moderate to Heavy Rain
Here’s a look at the updated forecast total rain for the entire event through Tuesday Night#CAwx #CArain pic.twitter.com/RiM3I605cm
— NWS Bay Area 🌉 (@NWSBayArea) December 25, 2022
The weather pattern, often termed a “Pineapple Express,” developed in the western Pacific Ocean near Guam, meaning the wet weather and winds will not bring freezing temperatures to the Bay Area, with highs largely in the upper 50s and lows in the 40s.
But snow seekers in Lake Tahoe are in luck. The upper Sierra Nevada will see multiple rounds of snow into next weekend totaling nearly three feet. The first batch of powder will drop on Monday evening at upwards of 7,500 feet of elevation and as the week progressively gets colder snow levels will fall to between 4,500 and 5,500 feet.
Along with the snow, skiers could see wind gusts of 65 to 85 mph on mountain peaks, and drivers heading into Lake Tahoe will also see strong winds.
“We’re definitely encouraging people to have their heads up, especially if they’re planning on traveling,” said Katrina Hand, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service’s Sacramento office.
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