SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF & AP) – A potent storm front continued to batter Northern California early Wednesday, triggering flood warnings across the Bay Area and white-out blizzard conditions in the Sierra.
The steady rainshowers began tampering off at sunrise, but the downpours over the last 24 hours had left local streams and creeks overflowing their banks.
The National Weather Service issued flood warnings and watches for 11 San Francisco Bay Area counties. The alerts were issued from Sonoma to Santa Clara overnight, but most expired early Wednesday morning.
A flash flood watch remained in place for the areas charred by the Loma, Soberanes and Chimney wildfires.
Overnight most Bay Area locations reported nearly .30 of an inch of rain per hour with the Big Sur coastline being drenched by also half an inch an hour, forecasters said.
San Rafael was among the hardest hit areas with 3.61 inches of rain falling since early Tuesday. Highways were flooded throughout the region while in the Santa Cruz mountains, mud, rock slides and ponding were in full force.
In Central California, the rain is expected to be the greatest over the next 36 hours. Forecasters say Friday looks to be dry before the next potentially much wetter atmospheric river takes aim on Central California Saturday afternoon through Monday.
Four to five feet of snow is expected through Thursday in areas above 4,500 feet in Northern and Central California, while mountain areas below that could get two to three feet.
An avalanche warning remained in place in the Sierra where traffic was halted on Highway 80 for a while due to white-out blizzard conditions.
The National Weather Service’s Sacramento office said that as of early Wednesday morning the storm had dumped 56 inches of snow at the Boreal ski resort, 53 inches at Squaw Valley, 46 inches at Sierra-at-Tahoe and 34 inches at Kirkwood.
The weather service said accumulations of a foot was expected at lake level in Lake Tahoe on Wednesday with 2 feet or more predicted for the ski areas.
Gusty winds of 45 mph and higher have kicked up white-out blizzard conditions.