Muggy temperatures, a cloudy sky of blue and gray and the start of a breeze early Tuesday afternoon should give way within hours to another round of arguably odd, late-summer erratic wind gusts and in some areas thunder and showers, according to weather forecasters.
“We do have a chance of showers and thunderstorms returning to the area just like (Monday). The best chance is this afternoon and rush hour” into the night, said Scott Rowe, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Monterey.
Rowe predicted scattered thunderstorms, some brief downpours and strong wind gusts – a repeat of Monday night.
“I expect wind to pick up. You get gusty winds ahead of a thunderstorm,” Rowe said.
Monday night brought whirling winds that seemed to come from all directions at once, setting dogs on edge and dumping large amounts of pine needles and leaves over much of Sonoma County and the greater Bay Area. Just traces of rain Monday were reported in a smattering of Sonoma County locations.
At the Charles M. Schulz‑Sonoma County Airport the strongest gust recorded Monday was 28 mph, although gusts invariably were stronger in the hills and other parts of the county, Rowe said.
Monday night also brought a lightning show with a large number of strikes in the greater Bay Area and central coast, many of which could be seen locally.
“There was lightning well past sunset and lit up the skies,” Rowe said. “Mother Nature put on her best show.”
But the strikes hit in other areas, including Monterey County where lightning sparked 15 fires burning 75 acres, Rowe said.
A Cal Fire official for the Sonoma, Lake and Napa county region said just one lightning strike was tracked in this area, and was reported in Cazadero. It didn’t cause a fire.
Power outages were light in Sonoma County, with 42 customers in Sebastopol knocked out Monday night when a wind gust apparently knocked a tree limb into a power line, according to Pacific Gas and Electric Co.
The weather pattern is due to an upper level low pressure ridge sitting off the coast and a decaying storm, Rowe said. Combined with moisture in the air and some heat, it’s helping set the scene for the unusual weather.
“It certainly is not common to see convective activity in this time of year but it has happened,” Rowe said.
Tuesday’s high in Santa Rosa was expected to top off at 83 degrees, well down from Monday’s high of 98 degrees.
Wednesday’s temperatures should continue the drop, reaching the mid 70s in the Santa Rosa area. The chance of rain also will be greatly reduced.
By week’s end, the typical area hot spots should climb into the mid-80s. Those searing temperatures that rose well above 100 degrees during the Labor Day weekend and into last week should be held at bay for awhile, Rowe said.
“There are no significant heat waves in sight,” he said.
You can reach Staff Writer Randi Rossmann at 707‑521-5412 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter@rossmannreport.