And that means SNOW in the Sierra Nevada!
One of the things that I miss about the Midwest, although I hate to admit it, is rain, especially thunderstorms. Most of California has two seasons: wet and dry. We are about to ease our way into the wet one.
For the next three days, the first significant rainstorm (thunderstorms would be too much to hope for! ) will drench the Bay Area and end a dangerously dry six-month period. The news is good for firefighters; for motorists, not so good! If you think California, which recruits amateur bad drivers from all over the world for its daily demolition derbies, has a lot of auto accidents in DRY weather (and we DO! ), then you should see the highway havoc during and just after the first rain of the season!
Rain is expected to fall in the Bay Area late tonight or early Monday, according to the National Weather Service. I just made the trip to my driveway to close my car windows. Once the rain starts, it is expected to continue steadily all day. After Monday, it is supposed to rain on and off through Wednesday! The rain will bring lower temperatures with it – highs in the mid-50s to lower-60s Fahrenheit, which are 10 to 15 degrees below normal for this time of year! Although the storm is a couple of weeks earlier than usual, it unfortunately DOES NOT MEAN that the winter will be wetter than normal. SFGate.com says:
As for this storm, the forecast calls for about a half-inch to an inch of precipitation in San Francisco with the North Bay coastal areas getting as much as 2 inches and the rest of the region receiving anywhere from a quarter-inch in the valleys and 1 inch in the wetter regions. Night-time temperatures are expected to drop into the 40s around the bay, and into the 30s in the valleys.
A winter storm warning is in effect for the Sierra Nevada with heavy snow and gusty winds forecast through Tuesday morning by the weather service. From 10 to 18 inches of snow are expected above 7,000 feet with 4 to 8 inches below 7,000 feet. Snow is expected to fall at Lake Tahoe and elsewhere to about 6,500 feet.
The snow at higher elevations does not mean that ALL ski resorts will open early, but Boreal, which traditionally opens early, has announced plans to open on October 31, if not earlier. Other ski resorts open in mid- to late November.
A higher-than-average number of wildfires this year means that firefighters are delighted about the rain.
“We’re definitely hoping this storm brings a significant bit of rain,” said Daniel Berlant, a spokesman for Cal Fire. “We’re expecting the storm will at least reduce our fire danger.”
As of last week, 5,450 wildfires had devoured 129,000 acres, Berlant said, compared to 4,000 fires and 56,000 acres the prior year, and 4,600 fires and 120,000 acres in an average of the last five years.
“It all started last November, December, January – some of the driest on record,” he said. “Even though we saw some rain in the spring, it wasn’t enough to catch up, and we had a lot of dry vegetation.”
Six months of dry weather mean that a lot of motorists have (believe it or not!) FORGOTTEN how to drive on wet roadways. CHP Officer Elon Steers, the agency’s Bay Area spokesman, had THIS to say:
“The biggest thing is to slow down, give yourself a little bit more time and give yourself more following distance,” he said. “For some reason, it takes seeing a lot of crashes for people to realize that they have to slow down.”
As Forrest Gump said, “Stupid is, as stupid does.”
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