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Winter-type storm heading toward Sonoma County

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A winterlike storm is bearing down on Sonoma County, bringing unseasonably cooler temperatures and rain to the region midweek.

Rain will arrive Wednesday and continue off and on through the next week, according to National Weather Service meteorologist Steve Anderson.

“It’s a classic winter-type storm system coming down off the Gulf of Alaska bringing cooler air with it, so it’ll bring snow to the Sierra Nevada and cooler temperatures to our area,” Anderson said.

It may feel like winter, but a rather mild winter, according to Anderson.

“Cooler but not cold,” he said. “We’re not talking about freezing temperatures.”

At least not in Santa Rosa. Temperatures in the city are expected to hit highs in the mid 60s and lows of 45 to 50, Anderson said. That compares to an average high of 76 and low of 46 for this time of year.

Mountain areas are expected to be a bit colder, and Anderson said the passes over Highways 50 and 80 will almost certainly see a dusting of snow.

The city is expected to see between a half-inch to 1½ inches of rainfall on Wednesday. Thursday, Friday and Saturday should be dry, Anderson said, and then Sunday will see more rain and a third wet spell will hit from Tuesday to Wednesday.

Predictions of how much rain will fall Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesday are “kind of iffy right now,” Anderson said.

The storm will add to what has already been an unusually wet year. As of Monday, downtown Santa Rosa had received 43.63 inches for the rain year, which began Oct. 1. The average for this point in the rain year is 34.99 inches, Anderson said, which puts the city at 125 percent of average so far.

That’s a lot more than last year, which had seen 24.70 inches, or roughly 71 percent of normal, by this point in the rain year, Anderson said.

The winter-type storm this time of year is “a little unusual, but not unheard of,” Anderson said.

“It does happen. We do get periods of winter weather during the springtime,” he said. “It’s rare, but it happens almost every year. This just happens to be one of those times.”

The county is not expected to see high winds or any other weather-related dangers besides the rainfall, Anderson said.

“I would just caution people traveling to the Sierra Nevada to bring chains. You might need ‘em,” he said. “That’s about it. Otherwise, enjoy the rain.”

You can reach Staff Writer Andrew Beale at 707-521-5205 or andrew.beale@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @iambeale.

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