The month of March is off to a wet start across the Bay Area as one of the most significant storms of the winter season pummeled the region with widespread rain and gusty winds Thursday.
While the storm was a welcome sight for a region thirsting for rain, the winter weather system prompted a host of hazards, including spin-outs and wrecks, ponding on roadways, downed trees, and local power outages.
The brunt of the storm passed over the Bay Area Thursday morning, but scattered showers will continue to soak the region through the afternoon hours, weather officials said. Lingering showers through the evening could bring snow to higher elevation peaks.
While the widespread rain tapers off, a wind advisory for Bay Area hills above 1,000 feet is slated to remain in effect until 10 p.m., according to the NWS.
Bay Area peaks could record sustained winds ranging between 20 and 35 mph with gusts topping out around 50 mph, according to weather officials.
The inclement weather, especially the high winds, have made for headaches for air travelers. In addition to cancellations at all three major Bay Area aiports, some arriving flights at San Francisco International Airport have been delayed an average of about two hours, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.
Folks on the ground have also faced their fair share of troubles. Numerous collisions snarled traffic across Bay Area streets and freeways as rain made for slick roads during the morning commute.
Wet weather across the region will continue Friday before heading out of the area by Saturday night, according to weather officials.
Rainfall totals come Saturday night could reach nearly three inches in San Rafael and the mountains near Santa Cruz, according to the NWS. San Francisco is expected to pick up as much as 2 1/2 inches during that time period. Locations in the Tri-Valley are predicted to receive about two inches of rain. San Jose and other areas immediately surrounding the San Francisco Bay are expected to pick up approximately 1 1/2 inches.
Areas near the North Bay burn scars could pick anywhere from one to four inches of rain, according to the NWS. Mountains and higher elevation spots across the region could receive two to four inches through Friday. Valley locales are expected to accumulate one to three inches.
The incoming storm is also expected to blast the Sierra Nevada with several feet of snow and winds gusting in excess of 100 mph in some spots, according to weather officials. The National Weather Service in Reno warned of "dangerous and potentially life threatening blizzard conditions."
Low-level snow in the Bay Area is also possible, according to weather officials. Hills above 2,500 feet, in addition to locations above 2,000 feet in the North Bay, could receive anywhere from a light dusting to as much as six inches between Thursday night and Saturday night.