At least 155,000 Bay Area residents were without power Thursday morning as a powerful storm, “expected to be one of the strongest storms in terms of wind and rain intensity” in nearly 10 years according to the National Weather Service, bore down on the region.
High winds downed trees, power lines, and even Christmas decorations in San Francisco, according to USA Today. The storm is expected to drop three to four inches of rain in the city, and up to eight inches in higher elevations.
— Nick Hamlett (@NickHam) December 11, 2014
Residents living near coastal ranges and in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains are at increased risk of mudslides and debris flows, The Weather Channel reported. There is also a chance of thunderstorms, which could exacerbate flash flooding in those regions.
The National Weather Service warned motorists in San Francisco to avoid using exposed roadways, like the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge, due to high winds, while at least 10 scheduled departures of the San Francisco Bay Ferry were cancelled due to the stormy conditions. At least 111 outgoing flights and 122 inbound flights were cancelled at San Francisco International Airport, with the average inbound flight delay reaching 3 hours and 40 minutes, according to flight-tracking website flightaware.com.
Parts of the Sierra Nevada mountain range are under blizzard warning, as snow and wind could combine to create dangerous conditions. The Weather Channel predicts one to three feet of snow for parts of the mountains with more possible in local areas, as well as sustained winds between 25-50 mph, with possible gusts up to 80 mph.
Of particular concern to forecasters is the short duration, just 24 hours, in which all this precipitation will fall.
“It’s a short amount of time for that amount of water,” forecaster Diana Henderson told USA Today. “We are anticipating some localized flooding, maybe some downed trees and downed power lines. It could have an effect on a wide range of people.”
CBS San Francisco reports that dozens of schools, including all schools in Marin County, San Francisco Unified, Oakland Unified, and Berkeley Unified districts, have cancelled classes due to the storm.
— scott budman (@scottbudman) December 11, 2014