(KRON) — Rain is in the forecast this weekend with a storm front moving in that’s expected to bring widespread showers to much of the Bay Area starting on Saturday and heading into Sunday. Although this weekend’s storm is earlier in the year than we would typically expect, it looks like it could bring a substantial amount of rainfall.

“Our early season rain storm is shaping up to be a significant one,” explained KRON4 Meteorologist Kyla Grogan. “Showers are expected to begin overnight Saturday into Sunday morning.”

How much rain will the Bay Area get?

Forecasts earlier in the week predicted light showers, but the weather model has evolved to where we could see heavier than expected showers, particularly in the North Bay.

“This will be a Bay Area-wide event, although the highest totals are likely to be in the North Bay where urban areas could see upwards of an inch of rain,” said Grogan. “Coastal mountains and hills could see numbers higher than that.” 

How long will the rain last?

Initial weather forecasts had predicted showers lasting from Saturday into Sunday. But according to Grogan’s forecast, the storm could hang around longer than that.

“This storm is currently a low pressure system that is in the Gulf of Alaska and it will move down the coast and park right next to us here in Northern California,” explained Grogan. “What’s interesting about this system is that it is a cut off low.  What that implies is that unlike a frontal passage, it has no forcing factor inherently in it to send it on its way quickly. So the result of a low that is ‘cut off’ is that it has the tendency to linger. That is why I’m expecting this to be an impressive event.” 

Will the rain help relieve the drought or fire danger?

Will California still in the grips of a drought and September and October traditionally the months where fire danger is at its peak in the Bay Area, the question on most people’s minds is, will this storm bring relief?

According to Grogan, that all depends.

“The hope is that the rain will come down at a rate that will allow the ground to absorb it and avoid runoff.  That would be really beneficial to us, not only for drought conditions, but also to help us with the fire danger we traditionally face in September,” she explained. 

While some wildfire analysts have called this weekend’s storm a “mixed blessing” in terms of its impact on wildfires, Grogan says the rain could be helpful.

“This rain should also be a help to firefighters working to contain the Mosquito Fire as well as they should also see some rain,” she said. 

Graphics by Kyla Grogan

How to plan for the rain

While the rain could bring relief from the drought and potentially mitigate wildfire danger, it could also impact people’s plans headed into the weekend, and even next week.

“All of this is very good news. Having said that, it does impact weekend plans,” explained Grogan. “Our best day for outdoor activities will be Saturday and on Monday morning we will likely have a very messy commute as showers will be actively falling, so if you have to drive, plan for it to take a bit longer than usual.”