SAN FRANCISCO – A mid-winter storm brought colder temperatures and much-needed rain and snow to California on Tuesday and threatened snowfall on even relatively low-elevation San Francisco Bay area mountain peaks.
The storm came out of the Gulf of Alaska, bringing the first significant rainfall to the region in several weeks, the National Weather Service said.
Periodic showers, including bits of hail, hit the Bay area in time for Tuesday morning's commute while a batch of new snow fell in the Sierra Nevada. Heavier rain was expected Tuesday afternoon, and parts of Southern California could see a similar pattern. The storm was expected to move east by Wednesday.
In the Bay area, the showers and thunderstorms could be accompanied by winds of up to 34 miles-per-hour and will likely last through Tuesday evening, said Austin Cross, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Monterey, Calif.
Snowfall of up to 2 inches was expected in elevations from 2,000 to 3,000 feet and up to 5 inches in higher elevations. Ski resorts around Lake Tahoe could see up to 8 inches of snow, the weather service said.
Even though San Francisco saw highs in the 70s last week, California has been experiencing a colder-than-normal winter.
"We went from about 10 degrees above normal this past weekend to 10 degrees below today," Cross said. "We're usually somewhere in the 60s, temperature-wise, at this time of year."
San Francisco has accumulated nearly 14 inches of rain since October — about 85 percent of its normal rainfall during the fall-winter season, Cross said. Oakland has comparably received 83 percent and San Jose has had about 80 percent, he said.