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First Significant Fall Storm Soaks the Bay Area

Aside from rain, the midweek storm system is expected to bring high winds, powerful waves and mountain snow

rain-bay area
NBC Bay Area

The first significant storm system of the season made its way across the Bay Area Tuesday, soaking the region with much-needed rain but also triggering a host of hazards, ranging from high winds to powerful waves.

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In San Francisco, multiple lanes of southbound Interstate 280 were blocked because of flooding. A Sig-alert was issued at 7:37 p.m. because of an expected lengthy closure of the three left southbound lanes of I-280 in the area of Ocean Avenue.

The storm caused widespread power outages, including at Oakland International Airport, and caused delays in flights at all three major Bay Area airports.

Crews were working to restore electricity to over 13,000 PG&E customers late Tuesday night, the utility said. As of about 11 p.m., 13,309 customers were in the dark: 5,530 in the North Bay, 3,570 on the Peninsula, 2,590 in the East Bay, 1,600 in the South Bay and 19 in San Francisco.

The rain arrived first in the North Bay earlier Tuesday, then spread to the south across the entire region. The heaviest rain was expected in the evening.

Expected downpours in the North Bay prompted the weather service to issue a flash flood watch for the Kincade Fire burn area in northern Sonoma County through Tuesday night. Heavy rain in the area could result in rockslides, debris flows and flash flooding.

Rounds of rain through Thanksgiving are slated to bring more than one inch of rain to several Bay Area locations, the weather service said. Lower elevation spots such as San Francisco, San Rafael, San Jose and Livermore are expected to receive 1 to 1.5 inches of rainfall. Spots in the Santa Cruz Mountains could pick up 1.5 to 2 inches.

Thanks to freezing temperatures, some higher elevation areas at/above 2,500 to 3,000 feet across the Diablo Range could see snow, according to the weather service.

Gusty winds prompted the weather service to issue a wind advisory Tuesday afternoon through 4 a.m. Wednesday for several areas, including the coastline, East Bay hills and North Bay hills.

People along the Bay Area coast are being advised to watch out for large waves between Tuesday night and Wednesday. Swells could soar between 15 and 20 feet, with breaking waves peaking anywhere from 22 to 27 feet, according to the weather service.

Over in the Sierra, a winter storm warning is in effect from until 4 p.m. Thursday. The storm is expected to dump multiple feet of snow in spots, causing major delays for holiday travelers.

Bay City News contributed to this report.

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