SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — A potent storm triggered major delays at San Francisco International early Sunday as thousands attempted to return back to the Bay Area from Thanksgiving celebrations.
The FAA reported delays of more than four hours for some SFO flights as storms continued to wreak havoc with travel not only in the Bay Area but also in the Midwest and along the East Coast.
SFO was suffering the brunt of the weather delays with both San Jose and Oakland reporting flights impacted by the storm back east.
A ground control delay was in effect for SFO because of high winds.
The Midwest and East Coast were dealing with the ‘Bomb Cyclone’ system that battered the Bay Area last week, while current woes locally were being caused by a second storm front — this one a moisture-laden atmospheric river streaming into the region from north of Hawaii.
The National Weather Service said that over the last 24 hours ending at 7 a.m., Novato had received 2.25 inches, Kentfield got 2.14 inches, Santa Rosa 2.37 inches, Vernado 4.72 inches and Ben Lomond 1.83 inches. The steady overnight rain was forecast to transition into intermittent showers as Sunday progressed.
A weather service flash flood watch continued for the Kincade Fire burn scar and downstream locations.
“Rain will persist today and continue at least through early Monday,” weather service forecasters said. “Excessive rain rates and storm total amounts from 3 to 4 inches may trigger flash flooding over the burn area.”
A wind advisory covered much of the Bay Area evolving into a high wind watch along the coast. Forecasters said winds would be stready around 30 mph with gusts to 70 mph from the San Francisco Peninsula Coast to Monterey Bay.
“Damaging winds will blow down trees and power lines,” the weather service said. “Widespread power outages are expected.”
Silicon Valley Power officials said the winds and rain had caused several downed power lines which could take between four and six hours “at multiple locations” to repair.
The utility restored power Sunday morning to most of 2,600 customers after a large scaffolding-type construction structure fell on a power line in Santa Clara Saturday night but other outages lingered. The company cautions customers that additional outages were possible with high winds expected to continue through 7 p.m.
For Bay Area residents who traveled to Tahoe for Thanksgiving weekend, the return trip home will be a slow one on Sunday with ‘white-out’ conditions reported.
A winter storm warning remains in effect for Tahoe until 6 p.m. Monday for regions above 6,000 feet. The Sierra Avalanche Center issued an high warning.
“Warming temperatures, intense snow and rain, and strong winds have resulted in HIGH avalanche danger in near and above treeline terrain and CONSIDERABLE avalanche danger in below treeline terrain,” the center warned.
Chain controls were in place for those traveling through the mountain passes on I-80 and Highway 50.
The Santa Cruz Mountains were drenched with more than four inches of rain as the drops fell steadily on Summit Road off Highway 17 Sunday afternoon. At the Peacock Tree Farm, the rain and treacherous conditions on the road didn’t stop families from enjoying a family tradition.
7-year-old Emme and 9-year-old Reece say though it was cold, but they liked cutting down a tree in the rain.
Eric Hoffner, the owner of the Peacock Tree Farm, says, “Today is pretty slow, but we get the hardcore people out here on days like these.”
Storm Drops 4 Inches Of Rain On Santa Cruz Mountains
Just getting to the Peacock Tree Farm off Highway 17 was a challenge. Cars were spinning out and hydroplaning, keeping CHP officers busy on Sunday afternoon. Drivers saw several minor accidents along the two lane highway, creating quite a back up.
The storm has also caused minor power outages in the area as winds whipped through the higher elevations. Inches of rain created small creeks along the roadway, causing slippery conditions. While many wish the sun was out on the long Thanksgiving weekend, Hoffner can’t complain about the wet weather.
“It dampens business but we need it. It’s good for the trees, so good for business,” he said.
KPIX 5’s Andrea Nakano contributed to this report.