Two wet, blustery storms down, one more to go before the weekend is over.
The second in a series of three big storms blew threw the Bay Area on Friday, causing a peak of 13,800 power outages at noon, felling power lines and trees, snarling traffic and creating minor to moderate flooding on freeways, onramps and city streets. Weather Central meteorologist Tim Woebbeking warns another is on the way, expected to slam the Bay Area on Saturday.
"I would call that a very active pattern," Woebbeking said, "significant, and significant for this time of year. I see (rainfall totals of) 3.33 at Kentfield in the North Bay, I see 3.5 at Sonoma County Airport. I see 5.3 at Big Sur. That's certainly some heavy rainfall."
The first storm sped rapidly through the region Wednesday, while the second deluge that started Thursday night "stalled out" and lingered awhile, accounting for higher rain totals -- 1.96 inches at San Francisco airport, 1.99 inches at Oakland airport and 1.33 inches at San Jose's Mineta airport for the 24-hour period ending at 2 p.m. Friday.
With Saturday's soaker expected to deliver a similar punch, the National Weather Service has issued a flash flood watch through Monday morning for the coastal mountain areas. The region is expected to get a brief respite Monday, but there is a possibility of rain Tuesday, especially in the North Bay, Woebbeking said.
Much of Friday's damage occurred in Santa Cruz County, where heavy rain and wind knocked down power lines, particularly in the San Lorenzo Valley area. Lane closures were reported due to downed wires at Trout Gulch Road and Highland Way, and Highway 9 between Felton and Ben Lomond was closed all day for PG&E power line repairs. By midday Friday, 7 inches of rain had fallen in the Santa Cruz Mountains over a 24-hour period and residents and city officials were anxiously watching the streams and creeks.
"At this time, all rivers and streams are well below warning levels," said Melodye Serino, Santa Cruz County's public information officer. However, Serino urged Santa Cruz County residents to be ready for quick action if flash flooding is observed or a warning is issued.
Temporary power outages were experienced on the Bay Bridge, San Mateo Bridge and Richmond-San Rafael Bridge during the morning commute. San Francisco International Airport reported 60 canceled flights as of 2 p.m. Friday, and delays of up to three and a half hours.
Highway 84 experienced heavy flooding between Decoto Road and Newark Boulevard, and between Mission Boulevard in Fremont and Main Street in Sunol. A mud and rock slide closed the highway east of Palomares Road near Fremont. Highway 84's woes stretched into San Mateo County as well, when a fallen tree knocked down power and telephone lines and blocked the highway in Woodside early Friday morning, San Mateo County sheriff's officials said.
Alpine Road in San Mateo County reopened just before noon after being closed because of downed power lines and trees.
More than 7.5 inches of rain fell in parts of Sonoma County, and a fallen tree and downed wires blocked both directions of state Highway 1 in Olema on Friday morning, according to the California Highway Patrol. Highway 121 at State Route 12 was shut down due to flooding.
The East Bay suffered less disruption, although there scattered reports of flooding and two people were injured and taken to a hospital after their car spun out during the rainstorm and collided with other vehicles. The steady rain also forced the early dismissal of Antioch Charter Academy II, which is located in the flood-prone area near the Contra Costa County Fairgrounds and West Antioch Creek.
"We were looking at the weather report and the history of this creek," said teacher Tim Rubin. The baseball fields near the school were taking on quite a bit of water, which is an "indicator that we don't have much time," he said, adding that teachers at the school monitored the creek throughout the day to see if it was rising, and plan to do the same Sunday. If it crests the bridge, parents will be notified by phone, email and text message.
"It got close today. The creek was very high this morning, about a foot below the bridge. Luckily the tide was low," Rubin said.
There was flooding in downtown Martinez on Berrellesa Street and along a stretch of Marina Vista Road, public works superintendent Bob Cellini said. Though there was no flooding in Pleasant Hill on Saturday, public work crews would be on call throughout the weekend. Several weekend events were canceled in anticipation of inclement weather, including Oakland Zoo's ZooLights, known to be the largest LED holiday light display in the Bay Area. The event will instead open Monday and run through Dec. 31 (except for Dec. 24-25).
Sunday's monthly Alameda Antiques Fair was rescheduled for Dec. 9.
Friday night's Christmas tree-lighting ceremony in Los Gatos was postponed until Dec. 7 because of flooding in Town Plaza Park. But Saturday morning's 56th annual Los Gatos Children's Christmas and Holidays Parade was still on.
"I just picked up the radios and the barricades are all ready, so we're a go," parade chairman Butch Lumby said.
Likewise, Saturday's 13th annual Oakland Holiday Parade in downtown Oakland was set to go on as planned, rain or shine.
Jessica M. Pasko, Daniel M. Jimenez, Mark Gomez, Paul Burgarino, Lisa P. White, Pamela Turntine, Katy Murphy, Judy Peterson and Bay Area News Group wire services also contributed to this report. Contact Gary Peterson at 925-952-5053. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/garyscribe.