Storm Wallops Bay Area with Gusty Winds and Heavy Downpours; Flood Warnings in Effect

A host of weather warnings were in effect Sunday as a storm featuring heavy rain and damaging winds batters the Bay Area.

A flood warning is in effect for Napa, Solano, Sonoma and Santa Clara counties while flash flood watches have been implemented in almost every Bay Area county throughout the day. High wind warnings and wind advisories are also in effect across most of the region.

A flash flood warning was issued about 4:30 p.m. for South Santa Clara County in the areas of Morgan Hill, San Martin and Gilroy due to Uvas Creek overflowing. It would remain in effect until 7:30 p.m., the National Weather Service said.

In the North Bay, the Napa River crested just north of St. Helena early Sunday, flooding Lodi Lane and a nearby vineyard. While many longtime residents have seen such flooding in past years, it was a first for Nancy Barnes.

"We just moved here in February, so we're new to all this," said Barnes, whose home on Lodi Lane was surrounded by sandbags.

On Sunday, Sonoma County officials were anticipating the Russian River would reach flood levels at noon Monday and issued an advisory evacuation notice for the low-lying areas of Monte Rio and Guerneville. Shelter is available at the Santa Rosa Veterans Building, 1351 Maple Ave, and domestic animal companions in crates are welcome, officials said.

Sonoma County officials also reported school closures for Monday. The following districts' schools would not be in session due to the effects of the storm: Alexander Valley (Healdsburg), Cloverdale Unified, Geyserville Unified, Guerneville, Forestville Union, Harmony Union (Occidental) and Monte Rio Union.

Folks were also paying close attention to Sonoma Creek, Carmel River and Fairfax Creek among others. The Guadalupe River in the South Bay and the San Lorenzo River in Felton also were expected to get close to or even reach flood stage.

Areas in the Santa Cruz Mountains, such as Ben Lomond, were doused with more than 5 inches of rain as of noon Sunday. Downed power lines caused outages for many in the area.

Portions of the North Bay around Petaluma and Napa received 3 inches of rain. San Francisco got 1.89 inches and Morgan Hill was drenched with 3.19 inches, according to NBC Bay Area chief meteorologist Jeff Ranieri. San Jose and East Bay rainfall totals measured anywhere from less than 1 inch to 2 inches. Those numbers are expected to increase as the storm continues to pound the Bay Area.

In San Francisco, flood barriers have been set in the area of 17th and Folsom streets to move water away from properties as the big storm pounds the area.

A number of trees have smashed into homes or landed on city streets across the Bay Area.

Heavy rains have prompted authorities to close down a number of flooded roads in the North Bay, including a major shutdown of Highway 101 in Gilroy, northbound 101 in Windsor and the closure of westbound Highway 37 in Marin from Atherton Avenue to 101.

Roughly 42,000 PG&E customers throughout the Bay Area were without power as of noon Sunday, as wind-blown trees have fallen on top of power lines. Later in the day, power was restored to many, but about 12,500 remained in the dark late Sunday.

A couple in Petaluma on Sunday chose to make their way through flood waters before later requesting help from rescue crews, according to fire officials. People are being advised to stay clear of moving water.

A total of 133 flights, which includes arrivals and departures, at San Francisco International Airport were canceled as of 12:15 p.m., along with 289 delays due to the storm. Oakland International Airport reported 14 total cancellations and 40 delays. NBC Bay Area is awaiting numbers from Mineta San Jose International Airport. Those numbers are expected to fluctuate throughout the day. Travelers are encouraged to check with their airline before leaving for the airport.

The winter storm, which is blanketing the Sierra Nevada in rain as opposed to snow, is causing some ski resorts in the Sierra Nevada to partially close or close completely because of dangerous winds. Squaw Valley will only offer limited accessibility on Sunday, and Heavenly, Northstar and Alpine Meadows will all be closed completely.

The heavy rains come as California enters a sixth year of drought, starting in October with more rain falling than in three decades, mostly in Northern California. Los Angeles is experiencing the wettest winter in six years, forecasters said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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