Bracing for storm: Bay Area set to see a major change in the weather

Satellite image of Bay Area as seen from 22,000 miles above on Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2022. Heavy rain and strong winds were forecasted to move in on Wednesday.  (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)

Call it the calm before the storm. Bay Area residents were being warned that a major change was on the way from the mild late-November weather the region has been experiencing.

Stormy conditions were being forecasted for Wednesday night. "Could be a solid one too with strong gusty winds and periods of heavy rain," the National Weather Service (NWS) for the San Francisco Bay Area region tweeted on Tuesday.

The agency said areas could get about an inch of rain, with some locations like higher elevations of the North Bay and the Santa Cruz Mountains, receiving more. An upwards of 30 miles per hour wind gusts were also expected to hit some areas. 

The weather service said residents should expect the active weather pattern to continue into Thursday, and suggested it might be a good time to clear out the gutters now, before the storm hit.

The forecast then called for a mostly dry Friday, with more rain over the weekend. 

Rain in the lower elevations also meant snow up in the Sierra. The weather service issued a winter storm warning, which was set to go into effect starting Wednesday at 10 p.m. and lasting until Friday at 10 a.m. 

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The NWS said that heavy snow, accumulating one to three feet, was expected in regions including parts of Plumas County, counties in the Northern Sierra Nevada region, Interstate 80 over Donner Pass and Highway 50 over Echo Summit.

Winds were also expected to be strong, gusting as high as 55 to 65 miles per hour.

"Travel could be very difficult to impossible," the agency said in its advisory, adding, "Heavy snow and gusty winds will bring reduced visibility with whiteout conditions at times."

Screenshot of Caltrans traffic camera on Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022 at State Route 267 : Tahoe Vista Hwy 267 at Brockway Summit. (Caltrans )