Storm Brings Heavy Winds, Rain to NorCal

By: Associated Press Email
By: Associated Press Email

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Heavy winds and rain battered Northern California on Saturday, bringing down trees, leading to isolated power outages and creating hazardous conditions for boaters in coastal waters.

The National Weather Service issued a wind advisory for the state's far northern coast and inland from Redding into the Central Valley. Parts of the Sierra Nevada were under a high wind warning and were expected to experience gusts as high as 70 mph.

A small craft advisory was in effect through late Sunday night for much of the coast, with swells as high as 15 feet expected.

"It's a pretty strong front," said Austin Cross, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service. Cross said wind gusts up to 40 mph were reported in the San Francisco Bay area.

The rain and winds were blamed for the closure of Highway 128 west of the Sonoma County city of Cloverdale. A power pole fell onto the roadway about a mile and a half west of Highway 101 shortly before 7:30 a.m., the Press Democrat of Santa Rosa reported.

More than 350 customers in different parts of Sonoma County were without power at one point, the newspaper reported.

Further north in Klamath, a tree fell on a mobile home although no one was hurt, said Del Norte County Sheriff's Cmdr. Bill Steven. Meanwhile, State Route 197 just south of Highway 101 in the county remained closed a day after a landslide blocked vehicle traffic.

The rain was expected to taper off into scattered showers for much of the area by the afternoon. Parts of the Sierra Nevada were under a winter storm warning until Sunday morning, with accumulations of 5 to 10 inches expected.

The rain capped off a wet March for the region that saw higher-than-usual precipitation totals. San Francisco has received more than 5 and 1/2 inches of rainfall in March, up from the little more than 3 inches it normally sees, Cross said.

But the precipitation has not made up for the relatively dry winter, he said. The Sierra snowpack was just 52 percent of normal as of Friday.

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