2019 will start out on a dry note
Temperatures are expected to dip into the mid-30s by weekend
The final hours of 2018 will shuff le off into the history books just as they kicked off the year — with a blue and relatively clear sky covering the Bay Area.
But hold off on that talk about the dire need for rain. A weeklong forecast for dry weather may be a familiar one, but it doesn’t signal a concern — yet.
“You look around the Bay Area, and every area is mostly about 75 percent of what would be considered a normal total,” veteran meteorologist Steve Anderson of the National Weather Service said. “So even though there’s nothing in the immediate forecast, we haven’t really been lacking.”
Indeed, storms have proven to be more than just a once-ina-blue-moon visitor since Oct. 1. Two significant storms in late November, as well as rains in early December helped the state’s rainfall total following a bleak October.
With no rain forecast for at least a week, San Jose will enter January with 3.48 inches of total rain since July 1, about an inch below the normal total of 4 ½ inches, Anderson said. Oakland is hovering just over 5 inches, about 74 percent of normal total of 6.85.
Totals for Contra Costa County were not available, but Anderson said, “you can safely assume that it’s also in that 75 percent of normal range.”
Those totals are more encouraging than at the end of 2017, when rainfall for the Bay Area was between 45 and 50 percent of normal, depending on the location. Too, the state was only eight months removed from the official declared end by Gov. Jerry Brown of a state-wide drought that began in 2014.
The drought was declared as the state endured four straight years (2011-15) with less than 20 inches of rain.
According to meteorologist Jan Null, the state received a total of 23.26 inches in 2015-16, a figure that fell within normal, then was deluged with 32.34 inches the following season. In 2017-18, 17.53 inches of rain fell.
“In a sense, California is always recovering,” Null said. “It’s always on that thin line.”
As for when the next rainfall will hit, forecasters can only wait. A cool trough of low pressure is entering the state from the Gulf of Alaska, but it’s not bringing any precipitation, Anderson said.
It will bring a much colder start to 2019. Overnight low temperatures are expected to fall into the mid-30s in most Bay Area locations by Friday, and those cold tallies figure to stick around through Dec. 31, he said. Thermometer readings were in the 60s on New Year’s Eve 2017.
The temperatures in the Sierra Nevada will go even lower, and the windchill there will dip into single digits.
“It’s going to be blustery,” he said.
And the air will be relatively clean, too. The Bay Area Air Management District does not anticipate the need for a Spare the Air Day in the near future; its five- day forecast show shows the air quality is expected to be between good and moderate.