What the report itself actually predicts is the potential for snow accumulation at lower levels than usual in the Bay Area, starting Monday afternoon and lasting until Tuesday morning.
Let's break it down by region:
- North Bay: Snow mixed with rain could occur lower than 1,000 feet.
- Santa Cruz and East Bay: Snow levels predicted at above 1,000 feet.
- Santa Lucia Mountains and Southern Gabilan Range: Snow levels anticipated about 1,500 feet.
"It’s definitely rare, though not unprecedented," said Ryan Walbrun, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.
The Bay Area is experiencing a rare (for the area) combination of cold temperatures and precipitation and, as of Monday afternoon, there were already confirmed reports of snow in the hills. Walbrun said the lowest confirmed snow was in Lake County at 1,300 feet, while hills around Livermore also had reports of the white stuff.
But Walbrun said he wouldn't be surprised if they got reports of snow at lower elevations, though San Francisco itself shouldn't be as hopeful.
"It’s even harder to get it in the city just because it’s surrounded by water on all three sides," Walbrun said. The only places in San Francisco with even the smallest potential for snow sightings would be Twin Peaks or Mount Davidson.
The places with a much higher likelihood of accumulation are going to be the peaks in other parts of the Bay Area. Mount Tam, Mount Saint Helena, Mount Diablo and even Skyline Boulevard in the Santa Cruz mountains could see some snow. The best times for the combination of cold and wet weather to bring snow would be between 12 a.m. and 6 a.m Tuesday morning.
"Be smart in the morning if there’s ice or snow," Walbrun warned. "Delay your time because it won’t take much to cause accidents."
Here's a handy map from the National Weather Service that highlights their Winter Weather Advisory.
People took to social media to share photos and videos of the unusual Bay Area weather.