March 5, 2021

New Year’s showers in the Bay Area a fresh start after historically dry 2020

Sprinkles of rain in parts of the Bay Area overnight Saturday marked a fresh change of pace for the parched region amid a concerning season of very low rainfall.

The showers weren’t much, but they were something. In Oakland, the 24-hour precipitation total reached 0.08 inches Saturday morning, while San Francisco saw 0.16 inches in the same period. San Jose and Monterey recorded 0 inches of rain. Mount Tamalpais in Marin experienced the most rainfall in the region, receiving over a third of an inch.

“It’s beneficial rain, and we need the rain, don’t get me wrong,” Cindy Palmer, a National Weather Service meteorologist, said Saturday. “But it’s not enough with how far behind we are climate-wise to make a real dent on precipitation totals for the area. We’ll take what rain we can get, but (overnight rainfall) wasn’t at a significant amount. ”

Light drizzles are expected through the rest of Saturday in the East Bay before another period of dryness that will persist until at least Sunday evening, when a storm system is expected to bring showers to much of the Bay Area into the start of next week.

Still, it has been uncharacteristically dry during this “wet” season in the Bay Area. Since Oct. 1, Oakland has seen 24% of its usual rainfall, San Jose 20%, San Francisco 29%, Livermore 25%, Concord 22% and Monterey 23%.

For San Francisco, 2020 was the second-driest calendar year dating back to at least the 1850s, Palmer said.

“To me there’s always hope for us to turn it around,” she said. “We’ve got January and February still to go, and those are two of our wettest months. That said, the low rainfall is concerning. ”

Next week’s storm will be another step in the right direction – Palmer advised Bay Area residents to take an umbrella on their Monday morning commute.

Then, another light rain system is expected to approach the region on Wednesday, before the possibility of renewed stormy conditions late in the week.

“But there’s still enough uncertainty with the (late-week storm) that we’re on the fence, because it depends on whether the system ends up going north or coming south,” Palmer said.

These won’t be especially cold rains. Temperatures across the Bay are expected to remain in the high-50-degree range and peak in the low 60s through next week, with regular fluctuations.

Overnight weather will be warmer next week as well, with cloud cover keeping temperatures from dipping below the 50s.