Storm door opens for chilly, wet weather

Temperatures in Northern California are expected to drop dramatically this week, National Weather Service officials said Wednesday.

As stormy weather moves across much of the state, temperatures in parts of the region are expected to fall into the 20s, said NWS spokesman Brian Garcia.

According to the NWS, Thursday morning lows will be mostly in the 40s. By Friday, lows will hit 27 degrees in Santa Rosa, 31 in Napa, 34 in San Jose, and 40 in San Francisco.

The NWS is also reporting that heavy rainfall will hit Saturday morning and continue until Monday afternoon. Many cities across the Bay Area will receive at least 3 inches of rain, with San Rafael, Napa and Half Moon Bay expected to receive well over 4 inches. Santa Cruz is expected to receive 5.54 inches of rain during the same time period.

In response to the NWS forecast, Santa Clara County officials announced today an inclement weather episode for the entire county starting Thursday evening and ending Friday morning.

Due to the weather, county officials announced expanded capacity at two shelters. Overnight capacity at the Gilroy Armory Winter Shelter will increase from the usual 130 beds to 180. The Boccardo Reception Center in San Jose will increase capacity from 250 beds to 350 beds.

As temperatures drop, PG&E today is asking customers to take safety precautions when heating their homes.

Jake Zigelman, senior manager of PG&E’s San Francisco division, said safety is always a top priority:

“We want to ensure that our customers stay safe and warm during the coldest days of winter. That’s why we’re asking families and businesses to be particularly careful, and follow a few key safety tips when using both gas and electric appliances this season.”

PG&E asks customers to be particularly aware of carbon monoxide poisoning. If unsafe concentrations of carbon monoxide are present but not detected, the result can be fatal.

As of 2011, all California single-family homes are required to have carbon monoxide detectors. Customers who suspect carbon monoxide in their home should get out immediately and call 911.

PG&E also warns customers about the use of heating devices, like space heaters, which can be safety hazards when used improperly. PG&E officials recommend placing space heaters on level, hard, nonflammable surfaces, not on rugs or carpets.

If PG&E customers suspect there is a problem with a natural gas appliance inside their home, they should call PG&E at 1-800-743-5000. A gas service representative will be dispatched to conduct an inspection.