Northern California Becomes Surfer, Snow Lover's Paradise

Cold weather and rain in the forecast

By John Boitnott
|  Monday, Jan 24, 2011  |  Updated 6:18 PM PDT
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The recent rainstorm brought more than just rain to the peak of Mt. <a title=Hamilton." />

The recent rainstorm brought more than just rain to the peak of Mt. Hamilton.

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The Bay Area coastline is a surfer's paradise, with a high surf advisory in effect that started Wednesday afternoon, according to the National Weather Service.

The advisory is scheduled to be in effect until 6 p.m. Thursday due to a forecast of swells of up 20 feet between Sonoma and Monterey counties.

The forecast high surf and high tide do not appear to be great enough to cause flooding, but the conditions would be monitored closely, according to the National Weather Service.

The rain and even snow that has graced the Bay Area is also expected to continue, NBC Bay Area meteorologist Craig Herrera said.

Temperatures were expected to be below freezing in Bay Area hills above 3,000 feet on Wednesday night. On Thursday morning, that might be a bit lower, near 2,500 feet.

Mt. Hamilton is 4,360 feet. Mt. Diablo is 3,849 feet. Mt. Tamalpais is 2,571 feet. Mt Umunhum in the Santa Cruz Mountains is 3, 486 feet.

"We won't get heavy amounts of rain, maybe .25 to .50, and we'll get a short break Thursday afternoon," Herrera said. "It's been feeling like winter again this week and that's nice."

More showers are expected Friday and another round of rain Saturday night through Sunday, Herrera said.

"I would also watch for some lighting strikes Wednesday afternoon and evening."

The cold temperatures are expected to continue, with some hills in the 2,000 feet range getting snow.

"I think by this time next week - by next Thursday or so, we will have made a nice dent in our rainfall totals," Herrera said. "Right now we are 39 to 58 percent of normal."

Moffett Field has reported receiving 4.93 inches so far this rainy season. The average amount received there is 8.44. The greatest discrepancy between how much rain has fallen so far this year and the historic average is in Santa Rosa. 7.62 inches have fallen, but the city normal has received 19.77 by now.

In order to seriously discuss a possible end to California's current drought, the state would have to make up, then exceed by at least 50 percent, the state's average rainfall totals. That is partly because the last two seasons were only about 78 percent of normal.

Another two feet of snow was also expected to fall in the Sierra, Herrera reported.

"I would just advise people to carry their chains with them if they are going to the Sierra -- food and water too," Herrera said. "People have to be careful with snow expected to arrive between now and the middle part of next week."

Up to nine inches of new snow fell on the ski resorts’ higher elevations in the last 24 hours, on top of nearly two feet that hit North Lake Tahoe last Monday.

“We’ll absolutely take it,” said Tourism Director Andy Chapman of the North Lake Tahoe Resort Association. “Another powder day in North Lake Tahoe makes for great midweek skiing and optimal conditions for the Presidents Day holiday.”

Foggy Weather Disrupts SFO Flights

Foggy weather caused flight delays of up to 30 minutes at San Francisco International Airport Wednesday morning, an airport spokesman said.

Spokesman Mike McCarron said the fog was only affecting some arriving flights coming from airports west of Mississippi, but that the delays could begin to affect more incoming flights.

McCarron advised travelers to check their flight status before heading to the airport.
 

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