SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – The leading edge of a wind-whipped storm front arrived in the Bay Area Thursday afternoon with a promise to batter the region with intense downpours and damaging gusts.

The National Weather Service has issued several warnings in advance of the front’s arrival.

A high wind warning was set to go into effect from 8 p.m. Thursday to 5 a.m. Friday morning.

Forecasters warned that southerly winds would be sustained from 35 to 45 mph with gusts in excess of 60 mph. The areas particularly vulnerable to the winds will be the North Bay Mountains, East Bay Hills, the Diablo Range, the Santa Cruz Mountains and coastal North Bay.

The winds will likely topple trees and down power lines before the storm moves on Friday.

San Francisco and Oakland can expect 1 to 1.5 inches of rain, which Monterey National Weather Service forecaster Steve Anderson says is normal for this time of year.

Rain totals in Santa Rosa could be near 3 inches and the rain-drenched Santa Cruz Mountains could see intense downpours.

The worst of the rain, forecasters said, would arrive between 6-10 p.m. with downpours up to an inch possible.

In the Sierra, the storm could bring 1 to 4 feet of snow to the higher elevations, an unusual amount for April.

Forecasters said it will be the biggest storm the Sierra has seen in April in a decade.

Electronic monitors last week showed the Sierra’s snowpack was at 164 percent of normal. It was the most dense springtime snowpack since 2011, a year followed by five years of harsh drought.


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