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Storms Bring Significant Rain, Wind To Bay Area Ahead Of Christmas

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A pedestrian holds an umbrella as he waits to cross the street in San Francisco. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

A pedestrian holds an umbrella as he waits to cross the street in San Francisco. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS 5) — Rain has closed roads and prompted urban flood warnings Friday, and CBS 5’s Chief Meteorologist Paul Deanno said it’s only the beginning.

While Friday’s rain has snarled traffic throughout the Bay Area, the North Bay appears to be seeing the worst effects.

The National Weather Service issued an urban flood warning Friday afternoon for Marin, Sonoma and Napa counties, signaling that rain could pool in low lying areas and on roads and cause ponds and streams to overflow. The warning expired around 5 p.m.

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State Highway 1 was closed south of Tomales Petaluma Road in Marin County in both directions due to flooding, the California Department of Transportation said Friday afternoon.

The roadway was closed shortly before 2 p.m. and reopened around 5 p.m., a department statement said.

The National Weather Service has also issued a hazardous weather advisory for the entire Bay Area and a high surf advisory for areas including San Francisco, the Peninsula and the coastal North Bay. Large waves could occasionally break far up onto beaches, potentially sweeping beachgoers and fishermen into the water.

The rain is expected to continue this weekend, with highs in the mid 40s to mid 50s around the Bay Area, according to a National Weather Service meteorologist.

The Bay Area will see robust rainfall amounts, but not enough to see flooding.

Deanno said rainfall amounts through Saturday evening are expected to range from .57 inches in Concord and San Jose to 1.95 inches in Napa.

On Sunday morning, a stronger storm is expected that carries a chance of thunderstorms. The storm is expected to end Sunday night, but another system could arrive by the evening of Christmas Day.

Pacific Gas and Electric officials say Sunday’s storm, in particular, could cause problems including power outages.

“We’re expecting windy conditions especially in the higher elevations, in the North Bay, Peninsula and portions of the East Bay as well,” said PG&E spokesman Joe Molica. “We urge folks to be prepared out there.”

Molica noted that anyone experiencing a power outage should use flashlights and battery-operated radios, not candles. A phone with a cord is also good to have, he noted.

“A cordless phone won’t work in a power outage, and a cell phone might work only for a limited period of time,” Molica said.

Residents are encouraged to freeze water in 2-liter bottles ahead of the storm so that they can keep items in the refrigerator cool if the power goes out, Molica said.

In addition, anyone who spots a downed power line should assume it is live and call 911 and PG&E immediately.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco and Bay City News Service. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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