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The first of back-to-back cold fronts headed into California on Friday, bringing the prospect of an abrupt change to rain, snow and cool temperatures after months of hot, dry weather and wildfires.

The National Weather Service for the Bay Area tweeted that temperatures would struggle to warm with maximum daytime forecasts in the low 60s and high 50s.

“If you haven’t headed out the door for work yet (or even if you are working from home), be sure to grab your light jacket, coat, hoodie or sweatshirt,” the National Weather Service said in a tweet. “Fall has arrived!”

The change in weather will test people’s willingness to keep dining outdoors, which Californians have taken to since the pandemic largely squashed indoor dining amid fears of virus transmission. Restaurants have moved tables onto sidewalks and even to city streets closed off to traffic to accommodate hungry diners.

Dan McCranie has tripled the number of outdoor heaters at his Ladera Grill in Santa Clara County’s Morgan Hill. He has a covering over a third of his outdoor tables to keep out rain.

“We’ve done as much as we can. It’s going to be an interesting test this weekend because it’s gonna be a high of 60, which is not that high,” he said. “I’ll get a chance Friday, Saturday and Sunday to see how things go.”

He’s not optimistic of attracting customers when it rains, even with coverings.

“We’ll just lose business. I’ve got some covers, but nobody ever wants to dine out in the rain,” he said.

The National Weather Service said the first winter storm will hit the Sierra Nevada this weekend and urged drivers to be careful.

In the San Francisco Bay Area, the weather service expects showers overnight and into Saturday morning with another round Sunday morning. The bulk of the rain will be along the central coast south of San Jose, meteorologist Anna Schneider said.

Rainfall will be less than a tenth of an inch to up to a quarter inch, Schneider said. San Francisco has had no substantial rain since May, she said.

In Southern California, temperatures were on track to drop 15 to 25 degrees a day after many locations were in the 90s to 100, the weather service said.

“Big changes are already underway,” the Los Angeles-area weather office tweeted.

In a reminder of California’s long siege of withering conditions, another wildfire roared to life before dawn Friday above foothill suburbs east of Los Angeles. Firefighters and helicopters stopped its movement after about 65 acres burned.

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By Arlene Huff

Arlene Huff is the founding member of Golden State Online. Before that She was a general assignment reporter. A native Californian, she graduated from the University of California with a degree in medical anthropology and global health. She currently lives in Los Angeles.

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