SANTA CRUZ -- The first official weekend of winter is going to be cold and extremely wet.

Forecasters with the National Weather Service are calling for steady rain beginning Friday and lasting through Sunday with temperatures never climbing higher than 55 or so.

"We're expecting a lot of rain," meteorologist Austin Cross said. "It's going to be heavy at time, especially in the mountains."

Santa Cruz could see up to 3 inches of rain through the weekend with the Santa Cruz Mountains getting hit with 7 inches, Cross said.

The cold weather system from Alaska also will bring winds up to 35 mph on Friday, he said.

Come Monday, the chance of showers drops and Christmas Day should be dry.

However, don't put away the umbrella quite yet. Rainfall is slated again for Wednesday.

A winter storm warning is in effect through Sunday for the Sierra Nevada with up to 5 feet of snow above 4,000 feet. The most significant snowfall will be above 7,000 feet.

Chain controls and possible road closures are possible throughout the Sierra.

Stormy weather will also send giant waves crashing along the coast.

Surf forecasters expect the swell to reach 10 feet, though probably sloppy.

Follow Sentinel reporter Shanna McCord on Twitter at Twitter.com/scnewsmom

Forecast


Friday: Rain, high near 55, winds could gust up to 35 mph
Saturday: Rain, high near 54, winds could gust up to 39 mph
Sunday: Chance of rain 70 percent, high 55
Monday: Chance of showers
Christmas: Mostly sunny, high near 54