More El Niño-Backed Storms Roll Into Bay Area

Nearly a dozen days of rain have doused the Bay Area this month and more soakings are in store before February rolls around, while Southern California more or less has gotten short-shrift from the El Niño-backed storms, forecasters said Thursday.

More heavy rainfall is headed to the Bay Area in the form of two storms starting Thursday night.

The storms aren't yet enough to end California's four-year dry spell. State water managers say California's snowpack needs to be at 150 percent of normal on April 1 to signal an end to drought. The statewide snowpack survey is at 115 percent of normal for this time of year, according to state officials.

National Weather Service Forecaster Steve Anderson says rain is coming Thursday night and Friday morning with lingering showers through Saturday in the Bay Area. While next week is forecast to be drier, the rain will return in February.

Most of the rain Friday will occur during morning commute hours and taper off throughout the day. Coastal mountain ranges could receive between 2 and 4 inches while inland areas could receive between 1.5 to 2.5 inches.

AAA Northern California is advising drivers to prepare their vehicles to help prevent crashes and accidents during the rainy weather.

"The combination of poorly maintained vehicles and driver error, along with loss of visibility and slick roads, cause thousands of preventable crashes each year," AAA spokeswoman Cynthia Harris said in a statement.

The storm systems also bring treacherous high tides.

On California's Central coast, two college students in Santa Cruz were swept off a rock and into the ocean by a wave Monday. Two surfers have also gone missing in rough Northern California waters in recent days.

At the same time, the final king tides of the 2015-16 season are hitting the Bay Area Thursday and Friday mornings.

``These king tide conditions, when combined with a severe storm like the ones El Nino is bringing this year, could flood freeways and critical infrastructure across the Bay,'' said Jeremy Lowe, a senior coastal geomorphologist for the San Francisco Estuary Institute.

To the south, forecasters said the latest front would deliver decent rain to the Central Coast on Friday but weaken considerably as it moves farther south, bringing only a chance of showers Saturday to the region from Los Angeles to San Diego and the inland counties. 

Bay City News contributed to this report.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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