Cold storm heading toward Bay Area

  • 7a898 920x920 Cold storm heading toward Bay Area



This NOAA satellite image taken Thursday, April 23, 2015 shows clouds are present across the Pacific Northwest, with rain and even some snow at higher elevations of the Cascades.

Photo: Noaa, Associated Press

Four year old Jocelyn Tse had trouble keeping her ears on during a brief shower Sunday April 5, 2015. The 24th annual Union Street Easter parade and spring celebration had something for everyone including a little rain in San Francisco, Calif.

Photo: Brant Ward, The Chronicle

A plant seen after light rains at Walter Haas playground in San Francisco, California, on Tuesday, April 7, 2015.

Photo: Liz Hafalia / The Chronicle

A winter-like storm is coming, as a fast-moving cold front is expected to drop down from the Gulf of Alaska and drop some much needed rain on Northern California late Friday night and into Saturday morning, forecasters said.

It was already raining in the far reaches of Mendocino County as of 6 p.m. and the bulk of the late-season rain was predicted to start falling in the North Bay around midnight, steadily sweeping south until it makes a hasty exit Saturday afternoon, said Steve Anderson, a forecaster with the National Weather Service.

“The storm door will blow open around midnight and it’ll be a real winter storm,” he said. “But the door will shut pretty abruptly around 2 p.m. Saturday.”

So, while the rain will be welcome, the storm’s quick-moving nature will keep gauges from overflowing. Rainfall totals are expected to be modest, with most places picking up between a quarter and a half inch of precipitation, Anderson said.

The system’s Alaskan origins will keep temperatures low, however, and Lake Tahoe will get some snow with 3 to 6 inches building up at lake level and up to a foot at elevations above 7,000 feet, said Jessica Kielhorn, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service’s Reno station.

She advised anyone driving toward the mountains to carry chains and beware of hazardous conditions on the roads, as the agency issued a winter weather advisory running from 11 p.m. Friday to 2 p.m. Saturday.

Once this system blows through, a ridge of high pressure will build back in, Anderson said, with temperatures in the 70s to return by Monday.

Kale Williams is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. E-mail: Twitter: @sfkale

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