The San Francisco 49ers are riding a wave of success toward a possible Super Bowl this season, but for the fans at Saturday’s playoff game against the Green Bay Packers, traffic chaos and rain may dampen the mood.
The divisional-round game against the Packers kicks off at 5:15 p.m., but rain is expected from Friday night through to late Saturday morning, spurring National Weather Service meteorologist Roger Gass to urge caution on the roadways to Levi’s Stadium.
As during many high-profile stadium events, heavy traffic is expected on Highways 101 and 237 and Interstate 280. The Lawrence Expressway, Great America Parkway and San Tomas Expressway toward Tasman Drive are also expected to be severely congested.
Santa Clara police have issued a traffic advisory about the game and plan to loop drivers, cyclists and public transit riders in on any road closures or alternate routes.
Ahead of the advisory’s release, Santa Clara Lt. Mike Crescini told The Standard that traffic is anticipated to match similar gatherings like the Jan. 7 game against the Los Angeles Rams. Crescini said that with higher attendance, the department’s stadium unit might close roads and direct traffic to give those leaving the game priority.
Drivers should budget extra time and watch for crews directing traffic. They can use city traffic cameras to monitor conditions, police said in a previous traffic advisory for the Jan. 7 game.
CHP San Jose spokesperson Officer Ross Lee also warned traffic would be bad beyond Santa Clara due to the rain.
“Anytime we have weather, we want to make sure that we're getting the same safety message out,” Lee said. “Make sure to slow down in the rain, increase your following distance, make sure that your vehicles are in good working order, allow yourself some extra time.”
During the Game
The weather may not be a huge factor in the 49ers’ performance on the field.
"We're not going to see completely dry conditions, but you know, it could be misty and a little drizzly, but that would be the worst of it,” Gass said.
The forecast calls for about a third of an inch of rain in the South Bay Friday into Saturday and about three-quarters of an inch to an inch in San Francisco. Temperatures should peak in the mid- to high 50s, with lows in the high 40s.
"Saturday night into Sunday will be wet again,” Gass said, adding that the next system will draw on some subtropical moisture but not provide a drenching blast like last winter’s atmospheric river storms. “We can expect up to an inch and a quarter in places in the South Bay through Tuesday, and around an inch and a quarter, up to about an inch and a half in San Francisco.”