Cold Front Brings Rain, Wind, and Cooler Temperatures to Northern California

A cold storm from the Gulf of Alaska is bringing significant rainfall, strong winds, and a sharp drop in temperatures to Northern and Central California. The storm is expected to impact travel and daily life, with up to 0.5 inches of rain in the Bay Area and 1-2 inches in coastal mountain ranges.

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Salman Khan
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Cold Front Brings Rain, Wind, and Cooler Temperatures to Northern California

Cold Front Brings Rain, Wind, and Cooler Temperatures to Northern California

A cold storm from the Gulf of Alaska is hitting Northern and Central California today, bringing significant rainfall, strong winds, and a sharp drop in temperatures. The storm is having widespread impacts across the region, affecting outdoor activities and travel plans.

Why this matters: This cold front's impact on travel and daily life will be felt by millions of people in Northern California, highlighting the importance of staying informed about weather conditions to ensure public safety. This cold front's impact on travel and daily life will be felt by millions of people in Northern California, highlighting the importance of staying informed about weather conditions to ensure public safety. The sudden drop in temperatures and heavy rainfall also emphasize the need for infrastructure and emergency preparedness in the face of increasingly unpredictable weather patterns.

The Bay Area can expect up to 0.5 inches of rain, while the coastal mountain ranges in Northern California may receive 1 to 2 inches. The North Bay and Sacramento Valley are likely to experience moderate to locally heavy rain. Gusty winds of 25 to 35 mph are also anticipated in the Bay Area, with stronger gusts of up to 90 mph along the ridgetops of the Sierra Nevada.

The cold front is also bringing a significant drop in temperatures across the region. Highs in the Bay Area may struggle to reach the 50s today, while the Central Valley will see temperatures in the lower 60s. This is a striking contrast to the normal high temperature of 77 degrees for May 4 in Sacramento.

The timing of the storm's arrival varies across the region. Rain began as early as 10 p.m. Friday in Eureka, spreading southeast throughout the night. "Widespread steady rain will reach the North Bay by 6 a.m. Saturday, and Sacramento and San Francisco by 8 a.m.," according to Anthony Edwards, a newsroom meteorologist at The San Francisco Chronicle. Isolated showers are expected to continue in the Bay Area and Central Valley through the evening.

In the Sierra Nevada, the cold front is bringing significant snowfall, with up to an inch of snow expected at Donner Summit. The heaviest snowfall is anticipated this afternoon and evening, with snowfall rates of 1 to 2 inches per hour possible along Interstate 80 over Donner Summit. Numerous winter weather advisories are in effect from this afternoon through early Sunday morning.

Travelers in the Sierra Nevada should be prepared for winter driving conditions, as road conditions are likely to deteriorate rapidly with the sudden drop in temperatures and transition from rain to snow. Chain controls are expected to be put in place by the late afternoon, causing slowdowns in mountain travel.

The storm's impact on the region is expected to be short-lived, with dry conditions returning on Sunday. However, locally breezy winds will persist along the coast, and temperatures will remain cool, with highs in the upper 50s to mid-60s. The Valley is expected to return to warmer temperatures next week.

While the rainfall amounts expected from this storm are not unusual for May in Northern California, with most cities averaging 0.5 to 1 inch of rain during the month, the sudden drop in temperatures and gusty winds are making for a notable change in weather conditions. Residents and visitors alike should be prepared for the impacts of the cold front and adjust their plans accordingly.

Key Takeaways

  • Cold storm from Gulf of Alaska hits Northern and Central California, bringing rain and strong winds.
  • Bay Area expects 0.5 inches of rain, while coastal mountains may receive 1-2 inches.
  • Temperatures drop significantly, with highs in Bay Area struggling to reach 50s.
  • Gusty winds of 25-35 mph expected in Bay Area, with stronger gusts in Sierra Nevada.
  • Storm's impact short-lived, with dry conditions returning on Sunday.