Week ahead: rain, snow, tides, eclipse

San Francisco Chronicle Late Edition - - PAGE 2 - TOM STIEN­STRA Tom Stien­stra is The San Francisco Chron­i­cle’s out­doors writer. Email: tstien­[email protected] sfchron­i­cle.com Twit­ter: @Stien­straTom

In the week to come, you’d best light the fuse and stand back. Days of rain and snow, then king tides and the eclipse of a su­per wolf-blood moon, are on the way for North­ern Cal­i­for­nia.

The big­gest storms are fore­cast to hap­pen late Tues­day through Thurs­day. Likely breaks Fri­day and Mon­day would be best for travel over the three-day Martin Luther King Jr. week­end.

The fore­cast lines up just right for the Sacra­mento In­ter­na­tional Sports­men’s Expo, which opens a four-day run Thurs­day at Cal Expo. When it pours out­side, peo­ple pour in­side. Rain: The five-day fore­cast projects 3 to 8 inches of rain across much of Cen­tral and North­ern Cal­i­for­nia, with a chance for higher to­tals in the coastal moun­tains. Across the greater Bay Area, that will jump-start the re­gion’s wa­ter­falls. As the week started, the gauges at La­gu­ni­tas Lake on the flank of Mount Ta­mal­pais in Marin, and at Big Basin Red­woods State Park in the Santa Cruz Moun­tains, each had recorded 20 inches of rain for the sea­son. When the ground is sat­u­rated, ad­di­tional rain presses ver­ti­cally into aquifers and pumps out wa­ter through springs and into the wa­ter­sheds that feed wa­ter­falls. Snow: At least 2 feet of snow is fore­cast to fall above 6,000 feet in the Sierra, more above 8,000 feet, pushed by a bliz­zard fore­cast to ar­rive Wed­nes­day af­ter­noon and last into Thurs­day. In Lake Ta­hoe, that would mean snow at lake level (6,225 feet) and that all the Ta­hoe ski ar­eas would be re­freshed for the week­end. King tides: Some of the big­gest high and low tides of the year will ar­rive over the hol­i­day week­end. On Sun­day at the Golden Gate, a high tide of 7.1 feet at 10:07 a.m. will be fol­lowed by a low tide of mi­nus-1.5 feet at 4:59 p.m. High storm runoff com­bined with a high in­com­ing tide can flood tide­lands. Su­per wolf-blood moon: At 9:12 p.m. Sun­day, astronomers fore­cast the eclipse of a su­per wolf-blood moon. This means the moon might ap­pear big­ger than nor­mal with a red­dish tint, and is called a wolf moon as the first full moon of the year. With a to­tal eclipse, it will be the win­ter’s No. 1 sky event.

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