As 2007 ends, so shall 2008 begin — wet and stormy

Water and snow are finally on the way for the Bay Area, raising hopes that winter will put a stop to the dry skies, low reservoirs and poor skiing season of 2007.

Rain is forecast for this weekend, and a bigger, multiday storm is expected to hit the area late next week, according to the National Weather Service.

“We are entering the three rainiest months and it looks like within the first week of the new year, it can start off nicely for us with a multiple-day precipitation event,” said Weather Service senior forecaster Dan Gudgel. “Considering we’re coming off of a dry year, we need to have an ‘above’ water year.”

Rainfall for Hetch Hetchy, which provides most of the water for San Francisco and the Peninsula, is at 60 percent of normal for the current water year, which began

Oct. 1, according to the San Francisco Public Utility Commission. The upcoming storm will help increase the water supply.

“These are great signs,” said Michael Carlin, assistant general manager at SFPUC. “But we still have a long ways to go before we can say things are OK now.”

Carlin explained that SFPUC begins looking at snow data in late January to make water-supply projections for the rest of the year.

This weekend’s storm, expected to end by Sunday, will bring up to six inches of snow to the Sierra, adding to the low snow pack and improving ski conditions for Lake Tahoe resorts just in time for the big skiing weekend.

San Francisco resident Eugene Russianov, who went skiing at Lake Tahoe last weekend, said he hopes the storms will bring more powder to the ski resorts.

“Not everything was covered last weekend — you could see stones peeking out here and there, but it was still good for first snow,” he said.

After last winter’s bad season, local ski shop owners are relieved to see more snow.

“It was slow in the beginning of the month, but now that the weather is helping us out, it’s back to where it should be,” said Colby Peterson, manager of the SportsBasement ski shop in San Francisco.

svasilyuk@examiner.com

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