Rain will return to the Bay Area this weekend, after a welcome springtime respite, and it looks like our early spring is going to be a wet one beyond the weekend as well.

Yesterday was the first official day of spring, but here around San Francisco it's been spring for at least a couple weeks now, following a pretty wet and chilly winter. If I had to venture where we are in the 12 seasons, though...

Yeah, so, 3rd Winter is still to come, and it may be starting on Friday.

As the Chronicle's meteorology team explains, the "storm door is expected to remain propped at least halfway open through the end of March into early April," thanks to the jet stream.

And that means more chances for rain for the next couple of weeks, and more influence from the Pacific Northwest and Alaska, which means chilly, wintry rain.

A half-inch of rain is expected here Friday into Saturday, and the Sierra is expecting another two feet of snow, which they don't exactly need. (The wind and snow from the last rounds of storms have created dangerous snow caves and a never-before-seen 40-foot-deep crevasse at the Sierra-at-Tahoe Resort!)

The current forecast shows a 35 percent chance of rain next Tuesday, but that could change, and beyond that we don't know. The Climate Prediction Center is giving the Bay Area a 50 to 60 percent chance of "above-average" rainfall through April 2, due to the jet stream pattern.

The only people super excited about all this are the die-hard skier types who never want ski season to end. For the rest of us, the reservoirs are full, and it's time for some spring sun.

In positive news, per the Chronicle, "Blue sky midday is expected to give way to passing high clouds during the afternoon and evening. [So,] The 7:22 p.m. sunset could be particularly vibrant from Twin Peaks and Ocean Beach."

Photo: John Gibbons