Cold snap brings freezing temps to Bay Area, more rain to come

It’s too soon to say if Bay Area residents will see more snow falling this week atop Mount Diablo, but the bitter cold should persist a few more days thanks to two expected storms.

The first rainfall on the horizon — due to arrive midday Friday — will bring light showers and breezy winds, said Scott Rowe, a National Weather Service meteorologist. A second storm likely will arrive Saturday.

“Long story short, it looks like the unsettled weather is going to continue,” Rowe said.

Most of the Bay Area’s lows have hovered around the low 40s and upper 30s in recent nights, and that trend is expected to carry on through Saturday.

Rowe said the cold snap comes from the storm that passed through Northern California from the Pacific Northwest last weekend, which dragged cold air down from the north and ushered in below-normal temperatures.

Over the past four days, ski resorts in the Sierra have intermittently closed down lifts and slopes due to the heavy snowfall. Nearly 8 feet of powder has fallen at Kirkwood Mountain Resort since Feb. 2, according to the National Weather Service. Sugar Bowl Ski Resort received almost 7 feet.

Snowfall ceased Wednesday at the resorts, resulting in “winter wonderland” conditions, said Zak Sos, a spokesman for the Northstar and Kirkwood resorts.

“One of the beautiful things about the Sierra and living next to the Pacific is we just get these incredible, powerful storms into the region,” said Scott McGuire, a National Weather Service meteorologist.

More snow and travel delays could be in the Sierra’s weekend forecast with the two storms coming to Northern California. Travelers can expect icy roads in mountain passes.

Highs in the upper 20s and lows in the teens are expected this weekend for the Tahoe area.

The lingering cold air, coupled with on-and-off precipitation Monday and early Tuesday, brought 8 inches of snow to Mount Hamilton, 3 inches to Fremont Peak and even a dusting of snow on Twin Peaks, which recalled the flurries seen in San Francisco in 1976.

But the Bay Area is no stranger to cold weather in February, Rowe said.

“We’re not terribly far from normal at least,” he said. “This is the time of year we experience our lowest temperatures.”

High temperatures on Wednesday and Thursday should linger in the low 50s around the region.

Gwendolyn Wu is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email:

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