Northern California Storm Door Swings Back Open

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – Three winter storm fronts were lined up off the Northern California coast Wednesday, ready to once again bring showers, gusty winds and more run-off to already saturated hillsides and swollen waterways.

Forecasters predicted the first front would roll through the Bay Area from the north at around 4:30 a.m. Thursday making for a wet and wild morning commute.

The front will move through the area quickly, but was still expected to create ponding on many roadways and halt removal work on the Highway 17 slide.

On Friday, a second system will slam into the Bay Area from the south and move through by lunch time.

Combined the first two systems are expected to dump more than two inches of rain in Santa Rosa and the Santa Cruz Mountains. San Francisco was forecasted to receive 1.87 inches of rain.

After a short dry spell on Saturday, the third system will send in rain and winds on Sunday night into Monday.

The system will linger off the coast, sending in showers through Wednesday.

A flood warning remains in effect for the Lakeport/Clear Lake area where run-off from the Sacramento River has already pushed the waterway over its banks.

The National Weather Service also issued a flash flood watch for the area around the Oroville Dam where workers are shoring up the emergency spillway at the massive structure.

A winter weather advisory was in effect until 4 p.m. Thursday followed by a winter storm watch until Saturday morning for the Sierra.

The stormy outlook was not good news for repair crews trying to remove a massive landslide blocking westbound Highway 80 at Baxter and a massive mudslide that has closed down Highway 50.

The wintry weather, flooding and run-off has also already filled the San Francisco Bay with debris making travel by commuter ferries and other boating hazardous.

“It’s become an issue with the higher water levels, the increased rains, the faster currents,” said Coast Guard Lt. Megan Mervar on the debris.

The stormy weather is also not good news for work crews trying to repair Bay Area roads already damaged by earlier storms.

Caltrans said State Route 1 near Leggett in Mendocino County has been closed since Feb. 3 due to an active slide.

Meanwhile, crews were racing the storms to restore State Route 37 between U.S. Highway 101 and Atherton Avenue in Marin County.

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