Mar 1, 2024 - News

Bay Area prepares for high winds, waves from Sierras blizzard

Photo of workers clearing up fallen trees from a street

Workers clean up trees toppled by a storm last year in San Francisco. Photo: Liu Guanguan/China News Service/VCG via Getty Images

Brace yourself — another winter storm is hitting Northern California over the weekend.

Why it matters: Powerful winds and heavy snow could lead to blizzard conditions in the Sierra Nevada mountains and five to 12 feet of snow in the area around Lake Tahoe — including snow rates surpassing three inches per hour, according to the National Weather Service (NWS).

  • The governor's Office of Emergency Services is urging residents to avoid traveling to, from or near the Sierras until the area is cleared by authorities.

State of play: Though San Francisco is not forecast to weather the same conditions, rain is expected in coastal areas.

  • The NWS has issued a high surf advisory in effect from 10am Friday through 4pm Saturday, warning locals to beware of large 15- to 20-foot waves that have the potential to pull people into the sea or propel dangerous objects.
  • The Bay Area will also be subject to another cycle of high winds, with gusts up to 50 mph expected.
  • A few power outages may result, NWS said in its wind advisory, which is in effect from noon Friday to 10am Saturday.

The big picture: The Bay Area is still recovering from its last two winter storms, which led to historic wind speeds, hail and even the risk of a tornado.

The bottom line: "March will be coming in like a lion for the West Coast states," per the NWS' Weather Prediction Center.


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