It may get warmer, but it will be wetter

The weeklong run of cold, clear nights that left Northern Californians shivering into the crisp, calm days that followed has come to an end, and a series of cold fronts is expected to bring wind and rain to the long nights ahead.

Temperatures at San Francisco International Airport dipped into the high 30s last week, and daily highs ranged from the low to high 50s, according to National Weather Service data.

Warmer nights are expected this week, but they will be wet, according to the weather service. Rain, clouds and wind are expected to continue, on and off, until Friday, growing strongest in the evenings. Maximum temperatures are expected to be in the high 40s to 50s.

A high-pressure system that sat last week off the California coast is starting to move toward Hawaii, according to weather service meteorologist Steve Anderson, which will allow storms to move south to California from Washington and Oregon. He said weather this week is expected to be unsettled.

Winds last week swirled clockwise around the high-pressure system, Anderson said. “That’s why it’s been so cold,” he said. “We’ve been getting the cold Canadian air.”

The cold weather coincides with the coming of the winter solstice. Just nine hours and 34 minutes of daylight is expected to follow today’s 7:19 a.m. sunrise, according to the U.S. Naval Observatory — one minute more than is expected on Saturday, which will be the year’s shortest day.

A group gathered in South San Francisco on Sunday evening to meditate and beat drums to observe the winter solstice.

“The sun seems to stand still, and then move after Dec. 22,” said Foundation of the Sacred Stream founder Isa Gucciardi, who led the drumming group. “It’s that moment of holding the light within you, this moment where you trust that the light will return, where you create festivals or rituals to honor the light,” she said.

This week’s wet, early hours will be particularly dark because the waxing moon, which tonight will grow to a quarter full, will disappear behind the Earth in the early morning hours, according to the weather service. A nearly-full moon is expected to shine throughout Saturday night’s winter solstice.

jupton@examiner.com

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