Rain, wind to clear before Christmas

A brisk Christmas Eve is expected in the Bay Area with minimal rain and moments of gusty winds that will quickly move south, making way for sunny skies on Christmas Day, a National Weather Service forecaster said.

A storm system will start in Sonoma County in the mid- to late morning on Wednesday and the North Bay is expected to receive up to a quarter of an inch of rain, forecaster Bob Benjamin said.

Rainfall totals for the rest of the Bay Area are estimated at about a tenth of an inch, but Benjamin said that prediction “might be optimistic.” The fast-moving system will travel south to the rest of the region by the late afternoon, with the main front falling in the evening, Benjamin said.

On Wednesday, low temperatures will range in the mid-40s to low 50s while highs will range in the upper 50s to lower 60s, he said. Breezier conditions Wednesday will pick up earlier in the evening at speeds of 15 to 20 mph, with gusts of 25 to 30 mph in higher elevations,

Benjamin said. The winds may result in downed trees, especially ones that have a weakened root structure from storms in previous weeks, he said.

The rain will travel south by Christmas Day morning when there will be sunny skies and dry conditions that will last into the weekend, according to Benjamin.