Heavy rains softened already saturated grounds and caused a landslide in the Oakland hills, which left five families displaced and four homes red-tagged, while high gusts of wind Friday morning left thousands without power in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Gusts up to 48 mph ripped across San Francisco and blasts of up to 62 mph hit the Oakland area, National Weather Service meteorologist Anna Schneider said.
In Oakland, residents of at least five homes were forced to evacuate Thursday night following a landslide that in some cases dumped about five feet of mud in their houses. Of those, four were red-tagged by Friday. Officials say the hillside is unstable.
Being red-tagged means no one can live in those specific homes, at least for the time being. Also, all work to clean up the fallen hillside and repair the homes has to stop until city officials gives the the go-ahead.
Diane Henderson recalled a wall of mud coming through her home's roof and down the hallway. Even a tree made its way into her house.
"Hillsides are full of trees and brush and plants, and you feel they are holding the hillsides up," she said.
But that was not the case on Thursday night.
Barbara Stone, who is now forbidden from reentering her house, was given 10 minutes to evacuate.
“I don’t know what to expect next," she said. "Two minutes from now, we may have to run, to get out."
Buckets caught rain water, but that's about all the women could do Friday to mitigate the damage as a less-severe system passed through the Bay Area.
Homeowners are also concerned about who will pay for the repairs.
"They called me back and said that we're not covered for mudslides," Stone said about her insurance provider.
There were also reports of several downed trees in the area. Jonathan Aragon felt like he was living in a war zone.
“We didn’t want to go to sleep last night," he admitted. "We were afraid the other tree back there was going to fall. We kept shifting through the house and everything.”
The East Bay Municipal Utility District and PG&E temporarily cut water and power service to 23 homes in the area.
Homeowners on Friday night hoped that a crumbling road above their properties wouldn't slide down and bring with it a lot more mud. They wondered too if a section of a water main that crews have isolated for restoration broke beneath the road, causing a lot of the damage. District officials said the scenario is unlikely, but that the pipe will be preserved as part of an investigation.
Meanwhile, more than 40,000 Pacific Gas & Electric Co. customers in the San Francisco Bay Area were without power Friday morning because of the stormy weather that started Thursday and lasted into Friday. But late Friday, that number hovered just above 7,400.
Elsewhere in the Bay Area, residents paid close attention to erosion and downed power lines on the fire-weary Santa Cruz Mountains. Parts of the hillsides have been washed away due to the series of heavy rains this winter season.
"We did experience significantly heavy winds in the South Bay — up to 52 mph in San Jose," said Mayra Tostada with PG&E. "That’s where trees are toppling. Power lines and power poles have been coming down."
PG&E set up a base camp in Scotts Valley from where they monitored the storm and dispatched repair crews. The agency brought in additional crews from the Central Valley to help.
“We’re prepared for this storm," Tostada said.
David Navarro said he woke up to sparking power lines after a small tree came crashing down. Now, he is worried about two nearly 150-foot trees that have roots exposed.
He complained that he’s been calling county officials for weeks, hoping someone would remove the danger above his home. PG&E restored power to Navarro’s home, but not his sense of security.
"I was scared because I have a little daughter and I’m more concerned about my family," Navarro said.
By Friday, though, it appeared that the Santa Cruz Mountains had been spared from the latest storm's wrath. Crews in fact had been sent from higher elevation areas to cities like Cupertino and Los Altos to bolster repair efforts.
Scattered showers will continue through Saturday afternoon when things will dry out until another small storm system hits on Wednesday, Schneider said.
Forecasters warned of significant travel disruptions Friday in the Sierra Nevada passes, around the town of Mammoth Lakes and along U.S. 395.
"Avoid travel if possible, you could be stuck in your vehicle for many hours," the weather service warned.
Forecasters upgraded a winter storm watch to a warning for heavy, wet snow, effective from midnight Thursday to 5 a.m. Saturday along the eastern Sierra, west of U.S. 395.
The Mammoth Mountain ski resort in the eastern Sierra Nevada reported early Friday that up to 26 inches of snow fell overnight, with more expected over the next day or two.
That raised the season total to 562 inches or nearly 47 feet
Advisories for small watercraft and gale warnings were in effect along about a third of the California coast.