December starts without a drop of rain, increased fire danger for Bay Area starting Sunday night

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ByMike Nicco KGO logo
Sunday, December 6, 2020
Bay Area braces for gusty winds, fire danger in December
Fire season isn't over yet: Meteorologist Mike Nicco says the Bay Area is bracing for the possibility of very dangerous conditions that could prompt an "extremely rare" Red Flag Warning in December.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Red Flag Warnings are "extremely rare" in December, but ABC7 News Meteorologist Mike Nicco says the Bay Area is bracing for the possibility of increased fire danger this weekend.

"I'm tracking a potentially unusual situation," said Nicco. "In fact, 2017 was the last time this happened. Before that, it don't think it has ever happened. I'm talking about a Red Flag Warning in December."

The National Weather Service has not issued a Red Flag Warning for Northern California yet, but with no wet weather in the forecast -- the likelihood of it happening is increasing.

2020 has been a devastating and record-breaking year for wildfires in California.

RELATED: Where's the rain? Bay Area facing moderate to severe drought conditions

"We are anywhere from 79% to 95% behind where we should be for the rainfall season that begun two months ago," said Nicco.

San Jose and Oakland have experienced a 95% rainfall deficit, since Oct. 1.

San Francisco and Livermore have seen an 89% rainfall deficit during the same time period.

Santa Rosa is 79% behind where it should be.

The Bay Area needs 2.5 inches to nearly 5.5 inches of rain to get back to average, added Nicco.

"We have near record dry vegetation," explained Nicco. Wildfires can ignite very easily under such dry conditions and can spread quickly.

Nicco's Accuweather forecast shows gusty winds developing overnight on Sunday into Monday morning.

"Fast winds will just explode offshore from northeast to southwest, across our neighborhood, hitting 30 to 40 miles per hour while we are sleeping," said Nicco.

25 to 35 mile per our wind gusts are also possible during the Monday morning commute.

"Thankfully by the time we get to noon Monday, they will go down to 30 MPH," said Nicco.

The high winds are expected to die down by the evening hours.

"So, we will have a small window of very dangerous conditions that could prompt a Fire Weather Watch 48 hours in advance or a Red Flag Warning 24 hours in advance," said Nicco. "We will keep an eye on it for you."

PG&E is also monitoring the weather to decide if a Public Safety Power Shutoff will be necessary in the Bay Area this weekend.

Currently an announcement has been made for Kern County with PG&E saying, "shutoffs likely" for December 2.

MAP: Find out if you'll be impacted by PSPS here

Watch the latest AccuWeather forecast and take a look at recent weather stories and videos.