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Bay Area Continues Historic Bone-Dry February; 1864 All-Time Record A Week Away

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) -- It's become an all to familiar pattern this winter -- storm fronts approach the West Coast, but it will be another near miss for the Bay Area which remained on track Thursday for its first completely dry February since 1864.

Yes, Abraham Lincoln was in the White House and the Civil War was still raging the last time the San Francisco Bay Area did not record a drop of rain in February.

The National Weather Service said a low pressure system would rolled into the Central Coast and Southern California on Friday evening and linger well into the weekend, bringing showers with it. As much as 1/2 inch of rain may fall on the Big Sur peaks, but no rain was forecast for the Bay Area.

"The system will remain to the south and impact the Central Coast," the weather service said. "The Bay Area will remain dry. Temperatures should reach the upper 60s and even the low 70s on Thursday and warm into the low to mid 70s on Friday."

With an off-shore high pressure system stalled over the Pacific, a second storm system will careen north into Oregon. And the long term outlook for next week is bone-dry again.

"It appears for the time being that the Bay Area and the Central Coast will continue to see the same mild temperatures, but also dry conditions," the weather service said. "And of course meaning that rain, let alone significant rainfall, will not be on the horizon."

Forecasters at the National Weather Service's Reno office did issue a little encouraging news for the Sierra.

"There are no signals for major storms through the end of February, but some signs are starting to show up that March could get more active," the forecasters said. "Time will tell, but we`ll sure take what we can get after this long dry stretch."

The warm, dry stretch has taken its toll on the Sierra snow pack which is melting off.

A satellite photo comparison between last February and this year was visual evidence of the melt off.

According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, the lack of rain has pushed the Bay Area toward drought conditions. On Thursday, the Bay Area was listed as abnormally dry -- one phase below the start of a drought.

Meanwhile, minor drought conditions were already being reported in California's agricultural rich Central Valley.

Forecasters said for the normal rainfall total from June 1-Feb. 17 -- San Francisco was at 55 percent of normal, Oakland at 44 percent of normal, San Jose 40 percent and Livemore 28 percent.

The picture is Northern California was in stark contrast to Southern California which has had a relatively wet winter.

For that same time span of June 1-Feb. 17, Los Angeles was at 75 percent of its normal rainfall, Long Beach at 99 percent and San Diego at 115 percent.

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