Storm Cuts Power for Thousands Across Region, Weather Emergency Continues

Power outages, fallen trees, mudslides, closed highways and flash flooding were reported in the South Bay, the larger Bay Area, Central Coast and in Southern California as a “bomb cyclone” tore through the region late Wednesday and into today.

The National Weather Service forecast for the greater San Francisco Bay Area calls for thunderstorms and heavy rain continuing today. The state of emergency declared late Tuesday in San Jose continued in effect today.

“A powerful atmospheric river continues to stream moisture over California,” the weather service severe weather center reported. “In addition, extremely heavy snow rates above 3 inches per hour are nearly certain above 5,000 feet, which will lead to dangerous, and at times impossible, travel in the mountains of Northern/Central California.”

The national Weather Prediction Center in Maryland warned that “considerable flooding impacts are likely” today, especially in coastal areas and the Sacramento Valley, with rain rates exceeding 1 inch per hour, which may lead to rapid water rises and mud/rock slides.

The “excessive rainfall” is to continue over California into Friday morning. “The associated heavy rain will create mainly localized areas of flash flooding, with urban areas, roads, small streams, and burn scars the most vulnerable,” according to the national forecasters, who said Bay Area residents could expect widespread wind gusts in excess of 50 miles per hour.

“Saturated soils may make trees more susceptible to blowing down, with power outages also possible,” the weather service reported.

The National Weather Service forecast for the greater San Francisco Bay Area calls for thunderstorms and heavy rain Thursday. Daytime highs are expected in the 50s and overnight lows in the 40s, with wind gusts easing off to 25-30 mph.

More on the way

Another weather system is projected to bring additional rain and periods of stronger winds this weekend and next week.

Santa Clara County officials issued evacuation warnings late Wednesday night to community members residing in the watershed areas of the Uvas Reservoir and Pacheco Pass River Basin due to the current winter storm.

Officials said the soil in the area has reached its saturation point, with creeks, streams and rivers reaching or exceeding flood stage.

As an atmospheric river barreled through the Bay Area, nearly 100,000 customers were without power Wednesday night, PG&E reported. By early today, that number had dropped to 80,448, PG&E officials said.

As of 4:45am today, the largest number without power remained on the Peninsula, where 34,866 customers are affected.

As of this morning power was reported out for 2,951 customers in San Francisco; 22,767 in the North Bay; 7,899 in the East Bay; and 11,965 in the South Bay.

Along the Central Coast, 18,197 are without power, PG&E spokesperson Karly Hernandez said.

State officials declared a state of emergency Wednesday in advance of the two-day storm.

The state of emergency proclamation, issued by Gov. Gavin Newsom, authorized the California National Guard to provide disaster response, directs Caltrans to request immediate emergency assistance from the Federal Highway Administration for potential highway repairs and approves the use of state-owned properties like fairgrounds to stage debris due to the storm and shelter those who are displaced.

The entire Bay Area is under a flood watch and high wind advisory due to the storm, which is expected to last through today.

Concerns about waterlogged soil and the potential for mudslides, falling rocks and flooding prompted Caltrans to close a portion of Highway 1 along the Big Sur coast on Wednesday evening.

Bay City News contributed to this report.

Three decades of journalism experience, as a writer and editor with Gannett, Knight-Ridder and Lee newspapers, as a business journal editor and publisher and as a weekly newspaper editor in Scotts Valley and Gilroy; with the Weeklys group since 2017. Recipient of several first-place writing and editing awards, California News Publishers Association.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *