SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF & AP) — A pair of winter storm fronts, packing the wettest downpours since December 2014, dumped more than 3 inches of rain, toppled trees, knocked down power lines and triggered fears of future mudslides across the Bay Area before moving out of the area early Tuesday.
Downtown San Francisco had a record 3.15 inches of rain on Monday, smashing the old mark of 2.36 inches set in 1872 and making it the city’s 16th wettest day since 1849, the National Weather Service said.
In the areas of wine country devastated by October’s deadly and destructive wildfires, the hillsides stayed in place but were saturated by the steady downpours.
More than 2 inches of rain fell in Santa Rosa, where light showers lingered into Tuesday. Meanwhile, St. Helena received 3.12 inches, Petaluma 2.48 inches and 2.52 inches in Yountville.
The storms hit southern Marin County and the Santa Cruz Mountains the hardest. Kentfield reported 5 inches of rain and Mill Valley 4.14 in Marin while Boulder Creek had 5.71 inches in the Santa Cruz Mountains.
A staggering 9.6 inches of rain fell on Mining Ridge on the Big Sur coast. Highway 1, still not recovered from last winter’s damaging rains, suffered new blockages.
While Bay Area residents endured a power outages, slippy roadways and some minor flooding, the brunt of the storm created chaos in Southern California.
Crews rescued residents from inundated homes as mud and debris from wildfire-scarred hillsides flowed through neighborhoods and onto a key Southern California highway during the powerful storms.
Helicopters were being used even during the downpours because roads were blocked, Santa Barbara County spokeswoman Amber Anderson said.
“The primary issue right now is access. We’ve got trees and power lines down,” she said.
There were reports of injuries, but Anderson didn’t immediately know how many or the extent.
She said “multiple” residents had been rescued and more were calling for help in Montecito and Carpinteria. Thousands were without power. Evacuation orders were issued Monday over fears of mudslides in those foothill neighborhoods where the state’s largest-ever fire raged last month.
Water and debris in lanes brought coastal U.S. 101 to a standstill, and traffic accidents on rain-slicked roadways across the region slowed the morning commute to a crawl.
A winter weather advisory was in place for mountain areas, where officials warned motorists to prepare for difficult travel conditions, including gusty winds, low visibility and snow-covered roads
A years-long drought eased in the state last spring, but Northern California had a dry start to winter and hardly any measurable rain fell in the south over the past six months. The extremely dry conditions and high winds last year led to some of the most destructive blazes on both ends of the state.
© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.