Here's how much snow could fall on Bay Area peaks this week
A cold front is forecasted to move across the San Francisco Bay Area Thursday, it will deliver a frigid air mass from Alaska and the chance of snowfall on the highest local peaks.
"It's going to be just enough to coat the mountains so people can see it from a distance," said Matt Mehle, a forecaster with the National Weather Service office in Monterey.
In the North Bay, Mount St. Helena, Cobb Mountain and Geyser Peak could all see 1 to 2 inches of fresh powder. Highway 29 over Mount St. Helena will likely be impacted.
Mount Diablo in the East Bay and Mount Hamilton in San Jose will see similar snowfall. Highway 130 on Mount Hamilton could close.
"The Santa Cruz Mountains have a few spots right around 3,000 feet," said Mehle. "They’ll probably see less snowfall than the North and East Bay."
The highest snowfall is expected just south of the Bay Area in the Santa Lucia Mountains along the Big Sur Coast. Here several peaks rise above 4,000 feet and could record 5 to 10 inches.
Snow levels are forecasted to hover between 3,500 and 4,000 feet Wednesday and Wednesday evening. Just ahead of the storm, onething known as "warm air advection" is expected to occur with southerly winds blowing some warmer air into the region, and snow levels may rise to 4,000 to 5,000 feet plus. But once the cold front makes landfall on Thursday morning, the snow levels will quickly drop to 3,000 to 3,500 feet.
Snow on Bay Area peaks in the winter isn't unusual and happens at least once a year. The most recent significant snow fell Thanksgiving week. In the gallery above, see images of recent snowfall events in the region's mountains.
Amy Graff is a digital editor with SFGATE. Email her: firstname.lastname@example.org.