Fast-moving cold front to bring wind, rain to the Bay Area

SAN FRANCISCO -- Breezy conditions are forecast for Tuesday afternoon ahead of rain expected to fall around sunset today in the North Bay and then spread south through the rest of the Bay Area overnight, National Weather Service officials said.

Rain will be light in most locations but may be moderate in the coastal ranges.

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Most urban areas will receive less than a tenth of an inch of rain, with isolated areas receiving up to a quarter-inch, especially in the coastal and North Bay mountains, according to the weather service.

Breezy and locally gusty conditions will also occur in the wake of the rain. Weather service officials said gusts will range from 30 to 40 mph, mainly along mountain ridges.

Conditions in the region on Wednesday will be dry and that may persist through Christmas Day.

Temperatures will be cooler starting Wednesday night through Thursday morning, with many locations dropping into the mid 30s, meteorologist Roger Gass said.

The forecast of cooler weather prompted PG&E to issue some tips for residents to be safe while warming their homes.

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PG&E officials suggest that residents place space heaters on level, hard and inflammable surfaces rather than on rugs or carpets.

Residents are urged to avoid putting objects such as clothes or shoes on heaters and to turn off heaters when leaving the room, and should keep flammable objects at least 3 feet away from heating sources and watch children when a space heater or fireplace is in use.

The utility advised people to avoid using stoves or ovens for heat, and to install carbon monoxide detectors near sleeping areas and change the batteries at least twice a year.

People should keep the fireplace flue open when the fireplace is in use and never use generators, barbecues, propane heaters or charcoal inside a home because they can generate fatal levels of carbon monoxide, according to PG&E.

PG&E crews will check gas appliances and relight gas pilot lights for free if customers make a request by calling (800) 743-5000.

Following high wind conditions last weekend, Cal Fire has ended its burn permit suspension as of 8 a.m. today in state responsibility areas and Cal Fire contract areas in San Francisco, San Mateo and Santa Cruz counties, Cal Fire officials said.

The risk of wildfires in the three counties is still higher than normal during a typical winter season in the Bay Area because of low humidity and below average rainfall.

Recent dry conditions have effectively eliminated the effects of the moisture the areas received in November, according to Cal Fire.

Residents and visitors are urged to be extra careful when burning. Cal Fire officials said people can be held financially and criminally responsible for any fire that gets out of their control.

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