Bay Area weather: Preparations underway for stormy weekend, atmospheric river, rain on Sunday and Monday

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SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) — It’s the calm before the storm, but we are heading into an intense weather weekend with an atmospheric river flowing in our direction.

ABC7 News meteorologist Drew Tuma will have live updates on the storm as it moves into the Bay Area on Sunday starting around 2 p.m. You can watch on abc7news.com or on our ABC7 News Bay Area streaming apps for Roku, Amazon Fire, Apple TV and AndroidTV.

In the North and South Bay, firefighters and residents are worried that the heavy rain could be a problem in burn scar areas.

Near the Santa Cruz mountains, county officials have wasted no time and have already issued an evacuation warning for some areas.

More rain fell in the Bay Area Friday morning, bringing a firm end to the long run of dry weather.

Dozens of crashes were reported across the region as the storm created slick and dangerous conditions for the morning commute.

VIDEO: Bay Area prepares for more rain this weekend

LIVE: Track the rain with Live Doppler 7

The CHP reported more than 70 incidents early Friday morning on Bay Area roadways, many of which were solo spinouts. By 8:00 a.m., the weather had cleared up and the rain moved out.

Public works crews are using the break to clean up the mess the rain created and to prepare for the next round of rain expected Sunday and Monday.

Tree trimming companies are also busy right now. The owner of Small World Tree Company in San Rafael said Friday morning crews were cutting back limbs that are growing over roofs. She said this is good preventative work to do ahead of Sunday’s storm.

RELATED: Bay Area rain storms to grow in strength, soak region into next week

“Sunday I definitely think there will be some trees down, maybe some broken branches. That happens in most of the storms. Now we have a good window to get prepared, do some trimming, and of course the usual cleaning out the gutters, ditches…whatever you can do. If you can do anything over roofs that haven’t been done, that is what we are doing today,” Owner Natalie Carey said Friday morning.

Kenny Gatlin with the San Rafael Public Works Department said they are using the break in the weather to clean up from the last storm, make sure headwalls are running clear, get more sand for sandbags and clear storm drains. They also pumped water out Friday morning from the area of Octavia Street and Woodland Avenue, which flooded Thursday.

He suspects it will flood again Sunday, but says now they know to have someone watch the area.

Weather Advisories in Bay Area


The National Weather Service has issued several weather advisories for various parts of the Bay Area beginning Sunday.

There is a Flash Flood Watch in effect Sunday for the North Bay from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m., for the Santa Cruz Mountains from 1 p.m. to 11 p.m. and for Monterey County from 5 p.m. to 4 a.m. on Monday.

Heavy rainfall could lead to debris flows and flash flooding in areas recently burned by fires due to poor drainage.

There may be potential for mudslides and washouts in steep terrain in these areas, according to the National Weather Service.

There are also Wind Advisories in effect Sunday in the North Bay from 2 a.m. to 5 p.m., in San Francisco, the East Bay and the South Bay from 5 a.m. to 8 p.m. and in Monterey County from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Southerly winds are expected to be 15 to 25 mph with occasional gusts up to 35 to 45 mph. Some areas might see gusts up to 60 mph.

Residents are advised to secure loose outdoor objects and structures and be aware tree limbs could be blown down, resulting in some power outages.

Driving may be difficult for vehicles with high profiles.

A High Surf Advisory will be in effect for coastal parts of the Bay Area from 11 p.m. Sunday to 11 a.m. on Tuesday.

There will be an increased risk of sneaker waves, large breaking waves, rip currents and coastal run up.

‘It’s serious’: North Bay communities prepare for approaching atmospheric river, mudslides a big concern, firefighters say

The North Bay is bracing for a direct hit from the approaching storm. Local firefighters are concerned about the threat of mudslides in burn scar areas.

Tac Kapustka was watching the weather Friday, concerned that an forecasted atmospheric river could spell trouble for his Sky Hawk neighborhood in Santa Rosa.

“I definitely think it’s serious, I’m not worried about a lot of water flowing, but I worry about mudslides or stuff sliding off the mountain,” Kapustka.

He lives near the burn scarred hillsides where the Glass Fire marched through in 2020, CAL FIRE says, these burn zones are at potential risk.

“With a large quantity of rain we have the potential for debris flows in fire damaged areas like Walbridge and Glass Fire which are being monitored,” said CAL FIRE Battalion Chief Nate Glaeser.

RELATED: Clogged storm drains cause North Bay flooding, public works crews standing by for busy weekend

CAL FIRE points to the worst case scenario. A mudslide in Montecito in 2018 which killed two dozen people living near a recent wildfire burn zone in Santa Barbara County. The Santa Rosa Fire Department Tweeted community alerts about the flash flood watch for burn scar areas this weekend.

“Our concern is not only dealing with heavy rains but potential for power outages throughout the area given forecasted rains this weekend,” said Santa Rosa Assistant Fire Marshal Paul Lowenthal.

The city and county is now arming at-risk hillsides with straw wattles a simple and effective tools to prevent erosion.

PG&E says it’s ‘all hands on deck’ for the stormy weekend

Meanwhile, PG&E says crews will be working all weekend to tend to areas impacted by potential power outages.

“It’s all hands on deck,” said spokesperson Tamar Sarkissian. “Our crews are ready to work all over the Bay Area in the event power outages occur.”

Their plant in Fremont is full of back-up equipment that can get delivered to crews working on outages.

“This is a major storm,” Sarkissian said. “Crews will be working around the clock till power is restored safely and as quickly as possible.”

However, some are starting to get frustrated with how frequent the outages are occurring. Kingdom Fitness says power has been going in and out all week at their location in Hayward.

“It was a little surprising that a little bit of rain can knock the power of an entire block of businesses,’ said Kristen Toth, marketing director for the store.

Her store was impacted by the debris on powerlines that turned to mud once rain fell. With heavier rain expected this weekend, she is preparing for the worst.

“If the power is out, we will have to do it old school and work around it and hope our customers can be patient,” she said.

Bay City News contributed to this report.

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