Get ready for rain, as two storms line up to hit the Bay Area 

Drivers should plan for a wet commute on Thursday morning, as another dose of much-needed rain is expected to hit the Bay Area beginning Wednesday night, a National Weather Service forecaster said.

Light rainfall is expected to start between 8 p.m. and midnight, with heavier rain forecast during the morning commute hour on Thursday, forecaster Bob Benjamin said today.

The storm, a fast-moving system that will travel from north to south, is expected to bring anywhere from 1 to 3 inches of rain to the North Bay and a half-inch or more to San Francisco, the East Bay and the Peninsula, before moving south to Santa Clara County and the Monterey area by Thursday afternoon, Benjamin said.

And the storm is only the first of two heading our way, Benjamin said.

The skies will clear sometime Friday, providing a brief respite. However, another system will then move in by late Friday or early Saturday, and will linger through Sunday.

"It looks like periods of heavy rain are quite possible through the weekend as early as late Friday and then tapering off on Monday," Benjamin said.

Looking farther out, Benjamin said it appears that there will be clear skies early next week, but there is some chance of additional storms around Valentine's Day and the Presidents Day weekend.

But at the moment, it appears that those rains, if they materialize, will largely be concentrated further north in California.

While this week's storms won't bring the region back up to its average rain levels for this time of year, "it's a step in the right direction," Benjamin said.

"I wouldn't say it's a drought buster, but these are the steps we need to take," he said.

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