Call it the Pineapple Express or an atmospheric river, but the pre-winter season of 2021 is really coming through so far in terms of some (potentially) drought-ending precipitation.
The Bay Area didn't see anything like this at the end of 2020, despite this being a repeat La Niña-pattern year, which goes to show how these patterns aren't entirely reliable — especially for our local weather. New records were set between Sunday and this morning for local rainfall totals, with the North Bay and Santa Cruz Mountains receiving some of the highest amounts. And this despite the storm system not being nearly as significant as the late-October drencher that itself set some records.
Although we still have showers in the area, especially around the Monterey Bay, here are the 72 hours totals for some of the locations that got the highest amounts. pic.twitter.com/OMYHijyt74— NWS Bay Area (@NWSBayArea) December 14, 2021
The numbers are still being tallied, but as of 11 p.m. Monday night, San Francisco was already hitting one of the top-ten water-year-to-date records with nearly 11.5 inches of rainfall since October 1. And it's looking to be the wettest year to date since 1994.
Another 0.17" rain since 9 pm in San Francisco, today's 11 pm total 2.51". The water year to date now 11.48" and 9th wettest on record. San Francisco already has enough rain thru the remainder of the water year ending Sept 30, 2022 to NOT place in the top ten driest water years. https://t.co/ebyjHyLFoE— NWS Bay Area (@NWSBayArea) December 14, 2021
In a sort of arcane-sports-statistic vein, the National Weather Service noted Monday night that SF's rainfall total for the water year to date means the city "already has enough rain [through] the remainder of the water year ending [next September 30] to NOT place in the top ten driest water years." That's good news, if you can parse it! And it means that if we continue to have a super wet winter, maybe this drought really will end.
Luckily, at least so far, reports of mudslides and flooding from this storm system have been minimal, even down in the vulnerable burn scar areas of Santa Cruz County.
"We got word of a few minor mudslides and debris that moved around Santa Cruz and the CZU Lightening Complex burn scars," says National Weather Service meteorologist Eleanor Dhuyvetter, speaking to Bay Area News Group. "We also got reports of minor ponding in urban areas in San Francisco, Oakland and even in Monterey last night, but that could be due to clogged storm drains and bad drainage design. We really didn’t have anything noteworthy. A couple streams that rose a little bit but no really large flooding."
There were some downed trees, road closures due to pooling, and at least one fallen boulder on Ice Cream Grade in Santa Cruz.
HAPPENING NOW: Highway 1 is closed 🛑 at Bean Hollow Road near Pescadero in both directions, after a large tree fell across the highway. No injuries. #CaWx Check CURRENT ROAD CONDITIONS HERE: ▶️▶️https://t.co/OWOItnpEQD pic.twitter.com/m1OrxvSTgO— CAL FIRE CZU (@CALFIRECZU) December 13, 2021
Some confusion on 92 about 4 pm. Despite SMC Alert saying the road was open eastbound, it wasn’t. They were just opening it 30 minutes after initial all-clear. There is still standing water on 92. Be very careful. pic.twitter.com/OSmZEKSxZd— Half Moon Bay Review (@hmbreview) December 14, 2021
HAPPENING NOW: Ice Cream Grade is closed in both directions, after a large boulder came loose & rolled across the road. No injuries. Road closed in both directions. This happened within #CZULightningComplex burn area. Santa Cruz Co Dept. of Public Works will remove boulder #CaWx pic.twitter.com/Rj08GQodtV— CAL FIRE CZU (@CALFIRECZU) December 14, 2021
Hail and hard rain fell in the overnight hours in San Francisco, and snow fell across some peaks in the Bay Area as well.
The Tahoe area, which had seen a slow start to ski season after some initial, extra-early dumpings of snow, is getting pummeled with this storm, and visitors are being told to avoid the area at least for now, as roads get cleared, etc.
And! There's more rain coming, but just light rain, which is expected to start falling Wednesday morning in the North Bay and move south, tapering off by Thursday morning.
Photo: Inge Maria