San Francisco could see coldest day in four years this week

San Francisco is expected to get even chillier this week.

San Francisco is expected to get even chillier this week.

Tuesday was expected to be the lowest temperature since reaching 39 degrees in January 2017, according to the National Weather Service. San Francisco is anticipated to see temperatures in the low 40s the rest of the week, possibly reaching the low 50s on Thursday or Friday.

“It’s going to stay rather chilly into the new year,” Roger Gass, an NWS meteorologist, said Monday. “The front this morning is going to filter in much colder air that’s settled in western Canada. We’re going to continue to see difficult travel conditions in the next several days.”

Heavy snow in the Sierras has led to major road closures and officials asking drivers to stay home until it’s safe. As of Monday morning, Interstate 80 is closed from Applegate to the Nevada state line and Highway 50 is closed from Placerville to Meyers. This includes Highway 89 at Sierraville and from Tahoe City to Squaw Valley Road, among several others.

Rain showers are also expected to continue through Wednesday and potentially return at the beginning of next week. As of Sunday evening, San Francisco has seen more than 15 inches of rain since Oct. 1, when the water year formally begins.

It’s the eighth wettest year in the same period of time since 1983 when the cooling weather pattern La Niña arrived in California. San Francisco’s wettest year was in 1889, yielding more than 23 inches of rain.

The 2020-2021 water year saw 9.04 inches of rain, 2019-2020 saw 11.62 inches and 2018-2019 saw 25.82 inches, according to NWS meteorologist Eleanor Dhuyvetter. While the Bay Area has seen “well above” average rainfall for this point in the year, Gass said January through March are the real tests of whether the drought will improve.

“It’s hard to say how much of a dent it’s had in the drought overall considering the drought has had several years to accumulate,” Gass said. “If we continue to have good rain the rest of the winter and into next year, then we would start to see ourselves improve. This is definitely good.”

Gass recommends checking on people who will have a tough time with the cold front, such as those who don’t have access to heating or who are experiencing homelessness.

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