As Northern California continues to burn, nothing would be more welcome right now than the sweet relief of rain, which is precisely what the National Weather Service (NWS) predicts for this week.
Precipitation may start as early as late Wednesday and run through early Friday, if we’re lucky. In borderline jubilant tones, the latest forecast reads:
A major pattern change will take place starting late on Wednesday going into Friday as a system drops down from the Gulf of Alaska and brings rainfall to our entire region. Confidence continues to increase that almost all locations will see precipitation from this system.
Presently, the NWS forecast anticipates a “slight chance of rain” Thursday morning and Friday, with “rain likely” on Thursday night, with precipitation predictions running from 0.15 inches in Napa to 0.3 inches near the town of Venado (Sonoma County).
Santa Rosa, where the fires are worst and the furthest from containment, may receive only 0.19 inches if these Monday predictions hold true.
As usual, predicting the weather is a stormy undertaking at best, and not all forecasts agree.
AccuWeather, however, says that rain is likely on the way and that it could mean relief for fire zones, calling the upcoming cooler, wetter weather patterns “for the most part good news.” They also warn that more violent winds could pose new fire risks. Rain could also increase the potential for flash floods in fire-ravaged reasons.
Any of these forecasts may change as Thursday approaches. But at least for now, anxious fire watchers across the region can keep a hopeful eye toward the heavens.
In a bit of unfortunate irony, Bloomberg pointed out last week that the drought-ending rains earlier this year might have set the table for the current fire season by overstimulating Northern California foliage.