Showers to Continue Across Bay Area, and Another Storm Is on the Way

4 min
Rain falls in the Noe Valley neighborhood of San Francisco on Dec. 1, 2019. (Annelise Wunderlich/KQED)

It's been only a week since the season's first serious raindrops fell, so you can't be tired of our wet weather yet.

And that's good, because you can expect on and off showers throughout much of the Bay Area through Wednesday morning. Then, after a brief dry break, another storm bringing the possibility of high winds and heavy rain is expected to announce its arrival late Thursday.

As for the weekend's storm: Some places — notably the western Sonoma County hills, east-central Marin, the Santa Cruz Mountains and the Santa Lucia range along the Big Sur coast — got really drenched from the season's first atmospheric river. And most locales, such as communities ringing San Francisco Bay itself — saw a perfectly ordinary couple of days of seasonal moisture.

The storm, fed by a dense plume of subtropical moisture pulled to the California coast by a slow-moving low pressure system, had dumped 16.85 inches of rain on a weather station at Mining Ridge, in the Santa Lucia about 40 miles southeast of the city of Monterey. Heavy rain continued on Monday, and the National Weather Service said Monday the site could hit 20 inches before the storm moves on.

"Rather impressive to see rain totals of that magnitude from one system. It`s not completely unheard of, but definitely a rarity when looking over the last 15 years," NWS meteorologists wrote in a forecast discussion.

In Sonoma County, the famously overflowing rain gauge at Venado, just west of Healdsburg, recorded 11.71 inches of rain.

There were less astronomical but still impressive totals in the Santa Cruz Mountains — a gauge in the Santa Cruz Mountains community of Ben Lomond recorded 8.46 inches. And north of the Golden Gate, east and north of Mount Tamalpais, both San Anselmo and Marin Civic Center topped 8 inches.

But because of the influence of our local mountains and ridges, nearby locations received relatively modest precipitation.

Davenport, on the northern Santa Cruz County coast just 7 miles southwest of Ben Lomond, got just .63 inches; San Jose International Airport, 20 miles northeast of Ben Lomond, got just .26. Lots of sites around the bay got modest or very ordinary totals: Downtown San Francisco got .60, Oakland International Airport got .53, and the KQED Berkeley Flatlands Bureau got .73.

National Weather Service meteorologist Ryan Walbrun said he expects that the current storm will bring the region closer to normal rainfall levels for the season.

"Those percent-of-normal numbers are going to be interesting, and unfortunately we've got to wait for the rain to stop before we tally everything up. But we did have such a dry fall, so it's beneficial rain, and for the most part here, we'll start to fill the reservoirs up," Walbrun said.

Inclement weather throughout the country has caused delays and cancellations for thousands of travelers passing through San Francisco International Airport.

SFO spokesman Francis Tsang said that as of noon, the hub had counted 84 flight cancellations and 326 delays on Monday alone.

"Coming off of this busy holiday weekend, and everybody's trying to get home from wherever they've celebrated their holidays, so a lot has been affected," Tsang said.

Oakland International Airport canceled three flights, while another 32 have been delayed. At San Jose International Airport, four flights were canceled and 50 are delayed.

KQED's Sara Hossaini contributed to this post.

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