Scattered showers in Bay Area's forecast for week
Scattered showers are expected to repeatedly grace the Bay Area early this week as part of an expansive winter storm system bringing rain and snow to much of Northern California, including another healthy dumping of powder over the Sierra Nevada.
The showers are expected to continue until early Wednesday as a slow-moving storm system churns over southern Oregon and moves toward Nevada, while intermittently spinning off storm fronts across Northern California and the Bay Area.
“It is going to move very slowly throughout the course of the week, and that's what's going to keep us in this prevailing scattered shower activity,” said David King, a National Weather Service meteorologist.
The most potent of those storm fronts pummeled the Bay Area during the pre-dawn hours of Sunday morning, dropping heavy rain and hail while also producing hundreds of lightning strikes over parts of the region.
One-third to a half-inch of rain fell over much of the Bay Area early Sunday, while pea-sized hail was reported across portions of the Peninsula and the North Bay, including San Francisco and Mill Valley, King said. The weather service also recorded 292 lightning strikes during the 12-hour period that ended at 5 a.m. Sunday — most of them concentrated over San Francisco and the Marin Headlands. Many struck just off-shore over the Pacific Ocean.
Another round of snow flurries also was reported in the East Bay Hills. A
light dusting of snow fell at an elevation of about 1,750 feet, King said. An additional 1-2 inches of snow could fall on Bay Area peaks above 2,200 feet in elevation, he added.
About 10 a.m. Sunday, a woman died when a tree or tree limb fell on her as she was hiking in the Rancho San Antonio Open Space Preserve in Cupertino. It was not immediately clear whether the recent storms were a factor in the accident, but a Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District official said highly saturated soils may have been the cause.
Authorities say the hiker was on the park's Stephen E. Abbors trail.
To the east, more than 2 feet of snow fell over the northern portion of the Sierra Nevada area late Saturday and early Sunday morning, said Johnnie Powell, a National Weather Service meteorologist.
Boreal received 38 inches of snow overnight, while Sugar Bowl and UC Berkeley's Central Sierra Snow Lab each received 31 inches of fresh powder. Bear Valley recorded about 16 inches of new snow overnight, while 17 inches of snow fell to the north in Quincy and 15 inches fell
The snow continued to snarl traffic in the high country. Interstate 80 remained closed Sunday morning from Applegate to the California-Nevada state line. The hazardous conditions also significantly limited operations at several Lake Tahoearea ski resorts. Both Boreal and Sugar Bowl, for example, were closed Sunday after being buried in snow the previous night.
The fresh powder adds to a bountiful snowpack that is nearly twice the state's average for this time of year. As of Friday, the state's snowpack sat at 190% of its average for this time of the year. Even though the northern Sierra has received slightly less snow this season, it still sat at 151% of its average for March 3, according to the California Department of Water Resources.
At least a foot of snow could fall over portions of the Sierra Nevada above 5,000 feet through Wednesday, Powell said. Areas between 3,000 and 5,000 feet in elevation could receive 6 inches of snow.
“This is copious amounts of snow,” said Johnnie Powell, a National Weather Service meteorologist.