Weather Forecast: Bay Area Rain, Sierra Snow for Holiday Weekend and Beyond

Travelers hitting the roads for the holidays could face weather-related delays

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The lead-up to Christmas and beyond will be eventful on the weather front, with rain in the Bay Area and snow in the Sierra, according to weather forecasters.

Here's a look at what you need to know about the wet weather in the forecast.

Rain showers and isolated thunderstorms will continue across the region through Sunday evening.

When will it rain in the Bay Area?

The National Weather Service said Sunday evening to expect snow on some Bay Area peaks Monday morning.

Snow levels will drop to "around 1,000-1,500 feet tonight into Monday morning," the NWS said on its Twitter account. Mountain travel will remain "difficult to impossible," it said, as most passes remain closed into Monday.

Significant snowfall will continue for portions of West Coast mountain ranges and the intermountain west. Expect record cold in parts of Northern California. A steady fetch of Pacific moisture and anomalously cold temperatures through the atmospheric column will support heavy snowfall rates that will continue to blanket the mountain ranges of the West, with an emphasis on areas from the Sierra Nevada to the central Rockies.

The Sierra Nevada, which has already picked up several feet of snow the past few days, is expected to see an additional two to five feet of snow through Tuesday.

Use interactive radar to track the rain

San Francisco sets will new rainfall record

The National Weather Service said, as of 5 p.m. Sunday, San Francisco has had 15.01 inches of rain since Oct. 1, making this year the wettest during that same time span since 1983 (15.7 inches).

Overall, this year's amount to date is the 8th most since records have been held. The record is still 23.77 inches, which occurred in 1889.

How much rain will the Bay Area get?

Anywhere from 1.5 inches to 4 inches of rain could fall between Tuesday, Dec. 21, and Sunday, Dec. 26. Here's a look at rainfall projections during that time frame, per the weather service:

  • Cloverdale: 3-4 inches
  • Santa Rosa: 2-3 inches
  • Napa: 2-3 inches
  • Fairfield: 2-3 inches
  • San Rafael: 2-3 inches
  • Concord: 2-3 inches
  • San Francisco: 2-3 inches
  • Livermore: 1.5-2 inches
  • Half Moon Bay: 2-3 inches
  • San Jose: 1.5-2 inches
  • Santa Cruz: 3-4 inches
  • Hollister: 1.5-2 inches
  • Monterey: 2-3 inches
  • Big Sur: 4-6 inches

The weather service is periodically publishing rainfall total reports as the wet weather continues. Check out the most recent one below.

Between Christmas Eve and Thursday, Dec. 30, most Bay Area locations could pick up at least another inch of rain, if not more.

Have any weather alerts been issued?

As of Christmas Eve afternoon, there were no weather alerts in effect.

Will the rain cause any problems?

The storms turned deadly Thursday when two bodies were pulled from a submerged car stuck in a flooded underpass in Millbrae.

Before the storms arrived, the weather service said the rain could cause minor flooding in low-lying areas and spots where drainage is poor, slick roads and ponding in areas, as well as rockslides and landslides.

"Good news is that rain totals are spread out over many days which should mitigate major impacts," the weather service's Bay Area office said in a tweet. "But be prepared for minor flooding, slick roads, and potential for debris flows/mudslides."

What's the weather forecast for the Sierra Nevada?

Several feet of snow is expected to fall in the Sierra this week, over the weekend and into next week, likely causing headaches for travelers heading to the mountains for the holidays.

The weather service said mountain travel is "highly discouraged" through the weekend and into next week.

Snow is blanketing the Lake Tahoe region in the Sierra Nevada, providing residents and visitors there a white Christmas, but making travel to the area a nightmare.

For the latest weather updates and alerts, check out NBC Bay Area's weather page.

Bay City News contributed to this report.

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