Rain brings some re­lief — and some prob­lems

Flood­ing re­ported near Par­adise; new storm ex­pected tonight

The Mercury News Weekend - - FRONT PAGE - By Mark Gomez and Paul Rogers Staff writ­ers

A storm sys­tem that swept across the Bay Area brought soak­ing show­ers Thurs­day, caus­ing flood­ing on some roads, boost­ing win­ter rain to­tals and dump­ing more than a foot of snow in the Sierra Ne­vada. It also caused more mis­ery in the town of Par­adise, with flood­ing in com­mu­ni­ties still reel­ing from the Camp Fire.

And more is on the way.

Con­di­tions should dry out this morn­ing, fore­cast­ers say, but a new storm is ex­pected to hit this evening through Satur­day af­ter­noon, with cool tem­per­a­tures and light rain across the Bay Area. Dry weather re­turns Sun­day, but more storms seem to be shap­ing up for next Wed­nes­day.

“These sys­tems are gen­er­at­ing over the Pa­cific and mov­ing over our area,” said Anna Sch­nei­der, a fore­caster with the Na­tional Weather Ser­vice in Mon­terey. “We’re into a wet win­ter pat­tern now. We’re go­ing to be see­ing more

fre­quent rain­fall. We’re get­ting ben­e­fi­cial rain­fall and end­ing the fire sea­son.”

By mid­day Thurs­day, rain­fall to­tals for the pre­vi­ous 48 hours in­cluded 3 inches in Santa Rosa; 1.26 inches in down­town San Fran­cisco; 1.78 inches in Oak­land; and 0.84 inch at Mineta San Jose In­ter­na­tional Air­port, ac­cord­ing to the weather ser­vice.

The high­est el­e­va­tions around the re­gion re­ceived more of a drench­ing, with Ben Lomond in the Santa Cruz Moun­tains get­ting 3.79 inches; An­der­son Peak in Big Sur see­ing 4.85 inches; and Mount Di­ablo re­ceiv­ing 2.1 inches from Tues­day to Thurs­day.

The weather ser­vice is­sued an ur­ban flood ad­vi­sory for San Fran­cisco, Oak­land and the North Bay through Thurs­day night. Sev­eral re­ports of mi­nor f lood­ing were recorded across the Bay Area, in­clud­ing sig­nif­i­cant wa­ter on the road­ways dis­rupt­ing traf­fic at High­way 101 in Mor­gan Hill and In­ter­state 680 near Alum Rock Av­enue in San Jose.

BART ex­pe­ri­enced a 20-minute de­lay across the sys­tem Thurs­day morn­ing after windy, wet con­di­tions prompted trains to slow down, blew branches onto tracks and caused tem­po­rary flood­ing at Oak­land’s 19th Street sta­tion.

Al­though the main front of the storm passed through the Bay Area by mid­morn­ing, the sys­tem de­liv­ered in­ter­mit­tent show­ers through­out the day.

There also were scat­tered power out­ages through­out the re­gion, ac- cord­ing to the PG& E out­age map.

Con­cerns grew through­out the day Thurs­day about flash floods in re­cently burned ar­eas in Butte County. There were re­ports around 1 p.m. of de­bris flows on Honey Run Road, just west of Par­adise in Butte County, with sher­iff’s deputies and fire­fight­ers at­tempt­ing to res­cue as many as 50 peo­ple stranded in homes by the blocked road.

High­way 140 be­tween Mari­posa and Yosemite Na­tional Park also was closed after mud and de­bris from an area burned this sum- mer in the mas­sive Fer­gu­son Fire washed onto the road­way.

Along with the heavy rains, the storm blew strong winds. Gusts peaked Thurs­day at 68 mph atop Mount Di­ablo, 54 in the Los Gatos Hills and 51 at San Fran­cisco In­ter­na­tional Air­port.

The weather ser­vice also is­sued a high surf ad­vi­sory for the North­ern and Cen­tral Cal­i­for­nia coast­line through this morn­ing. Waves of up to 23 feet were recorded.

In the Sierra Ne­vada, snow lev­els dropped as low as 5,000 feet. Most ma­jor ski ar­eas re­ceived at least 1 foot of snow by mid­day Thurs­day, with Mam­moth Moun­tain, farther south, get­ting more than 3 feet.

There is a win­ter storm warn­ing in the Sierra through to­day. Chain re­quire­ments were in place Thurs­day for all ve­hi­cles ex­cept those with four­wheel- drive on In­ter­state 80 over Don­ner Sum­mit and High­way 50 in the Sierra. Au­thor­i­ties were dis­cour­ag­ing travel dur­ing the storm.

The snow prompted Yosemite Na­tional Park to close its main roads through the high coun­try, Tioga Road and Glacier Point Road, for the win­ter sea­son. Fore­casts called for more than 2 feet of snow in the Yosemite high coun­try by to­day.

The late Novem­ber rains have al­lowed much of Cal­i­for­nia to pull out of an early sea­son rain­fall deficit.

A week ago, San Fran­cisco was at just 7 per­cent of its his­toric av­er­age rain­fall for Oct. 1 through mid-Novem­ber. Oak­land and San Jose were even worse, at 2 per­cent, and Liver­more was at 1 per­cent of nor­mal. Through Thurs­day af­ter­noon, San Fran­cisco was up to 95 per­cent, Oak­land 89 per­cent, San Jose 73 per­cent and Liver­more 56 per­cent.

Sch­nei­der from the weather ser­vice said the next round of rain start­ing to­day should should be less se­vere.

“It’s go­ing to be a lit­tle bit weaker sys­tem. We’ll prob­a­bly see a quar­ter of an inch in most places, maybe a lit­tle bit more in the moun­tains,” she said.


A man walks with an um­brella in the rain Thurs­day across the cam­pus of Cal State East Bay in Hay­ward.


Jaime Ruiz hauls farm equip­ment in the rain for Ka­jiko Nurs­ery in Mor­gan Hill on Thurs­day.


Mem­bers of a Cal Fire wa­ter res­cue team haul their in­flat­able res­cue boat through flood­wa­ters as they look for res­i­dents who need to be evac­u­ated from Butte Creek Canyon in Chico on Thurs­day.


An early morn­ing rain­bow lights up the sky in Martinez be­tween down­pours on Thurs­day.


Skiers ride the lift at Heav­enly Moun­tain Re­sort on Thurs­day. Heav­enly re­ports seven inches of new snow since Thurs­day.

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