Another 2 inches of rain expected in North Bay over stormy weekend

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There will be no dry spell this weekend for the North Bay.

Showers that started Friday are expected to continue through Sunday morning, with “steady, light rain” Saturday night, according to National Weather Service meteorologist Rick Canepa.

The North Bay’s upper elevations are expected to receive up to 2 inches of rain, while valleys and lower-lying areas will get up to 1 inch, Canepa said.

Cold temperatures also are here to stay, with nighttime lows near freezing at the Sonoma County Airport Saturday and Sunday and daytime highs in the low 50s. The average high for this point in the year is 60 and the average low is 38, Canepa said.

The cold, wet weather is expected to last into next week, Canepa said.

“(The) next 10 days, it’s pretty much more of the same. Unsettled, lower than normal temperatures,” he said.

The winter weather is part of a wider front affecting a large swath of the Pacific Northwest. Heavy snow hit Seattle Friday, prompting Gov. Jay Inslee to declare a state of emergency. Former first lady Michelle Obama was forced to postpone a speaking engagement in Portland Saturday because of the winter storm.

After a rare round of snowfall to start the week in the North Bay, 4,343-foot Mount St. Helena, the area’s most prominent peak, is expected to get another dusting of snow over the weekend.

Steady rainfall this month and last has alleviated some of the state’s short-term water worries, replenishing reservoirs and stocking up a now-ample snowpack in the Sierra Nevada.

At the start of the year, more than 90 percent of the state was experiencing moderate to extreme drought conditions. By Tuesday, that had dropped to just 12 percent, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.

Since the rain year began Oct. 1, the Sonoma County Airport has recorded 20.38 inches, 91 percent of normal for the period, Canepa said.

The region’s largest reservoir, Lake Sonoma, was at 104 percent of capacity on Friday, with Lake Mendocino at 120 percent of capacity for this time of year.

You can reach Staff Writer Andrew Beale at 707-521-5205 or at andrew.beale@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @iambeale.

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