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NorCal Storms Heavy Rain, High Surf, Sierra Snow Just Ahead Of Christmas

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A car drives across a flooded road near Healdsburg. (George Rose/Getty Images)

A car drives across a flooded road near Healdsburg. (George Rose/Getty Images)

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SAN FRANCISCO (CBS 5) — Heavy rain, pounding waves and plenty of snow in the mountains are all in the forecast as Northern Californians brace for a weekend of wintry weather.

As one storm system moves through the region Saturday, a second system is expected to hit the area Sunday.

With steady rain expected through Saturday, and heavy to moderate rain for Sunday, the National Weather Service has issued a “hazardous weather outlook” for the San Francisco Bay area.

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Along the coast, waves up to 16 feet are expected.  Forecasters are urging people walking along beaches or jetties to watch for large breaking waves.

In the mountains, heavy snow is expected Saturday and Sunday, with up to four feet predicted to fall in the higher elevations of the Sierra Nevada.  A winter storm warning is in effect for the Lake Tahoe region.  Motorists should check the weather service before traveling there.

The National Weather Service issued 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.

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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