California was poised to see chilly, showery and snowy weather this weekend as back-to-back cold fronts hit the state after months of scorching weather that fueled immense wildfires.
“If you haven’t headed out the door for work yet (or even if you are working from home), be sure to grab your light jacket, coat, hoodie or sweatshirt,” the National Weather Service said in a tweet Friday. “Fall has arrived!”
Light rain fell Friday night in Monterey on the central coast as one low passed through with a second low-pressure front tracking into the north to bring isolated and scattered rain showers on Sunday, according to forecasts for the San Francisco Bay Area.
Most of the state was expected to remain dry Saturday but some areas could see a tenth of an inch to a quarter-inch of rain and even a slight chance of thunderstorms, chiefly along the central coast south of San Jose.
San Francisco hasn't seen any substantial rain since May.
In the north, which was ravaged by devastating wildfires during hot, dry, windy weather in August and September, daytime temperatures would dip to the high 50s to lower 60s, forecasters said. Overnight temperatures could drop into the 40s for coastal areas and upper 30s in interior valleys.
Further south, Santa Barbara could see a half-inch of rain or more in the mountains and foothills.
The change in weather will test people’s willingness to keep dining outdoors, which Californians have taken to since the pandemic largely squashed indoor dining amid fears of virus transmission. Restaurants have moved tables onto sidewalks and even to city streets closed off to traffic to accommodate hungry diners.
Dan McCranie has tripled the number of outdoor heaters at his Ladera Grill in Santa Clara County’s Morgan Hill. He has a covering over a third of his outdoor tables to keep out rain.
“We’ve done as much as we can. It’s going to be an interesting test this weekend,” he said.
He wasn’t optimistic of attracting customers when it rains, even with coverings.
“We’ll just lose business," he said. “Nobody ever wants to dine out in the rain.”
Travelers were warned that a snowstorm would hit the Sierra Nevada this weekend, dumping three to 6 inches of snow through Sunday night with 10 to 12 inches at higher elevations, forecasters said.
“Campers and hikers should prepare for wintry conditions and dangerously cold wind chill temperatures" the weather service warned. “If you must travel, keep an extra flashlight, food and water in your vehicle in case of an emergency."
Expected gusty winds prompted a gale warning into Saturday for Bay Area waters that could see waves some 20 feet high, according to the forecast. Sailors were urged to remain in port or seek safe harbor.
A winter weather advisory will go into place Friday night at midnight until Sunday at 10:00 pm. An upper low pressure system will move over the central coast Saturday, brining rain and a slight chance of thunderstorms. Coasts could see up to half an inch of rain, but mountains and foothills may see more. Snow could fall up to an inch above 4,000 feet, and 1-3 inches above 5,000 feet.
Southern California was expected to see showers and temperatures around 60, some 15 to 25 degrees lower than just a week ago. Mountains could see up to a half-inch of rain.
“So long, hot weather!" said a tweet from the weather service.