Five-day storm may produce 5 inches of rain

Three storm systems forecast for Thursday through Monday could drop up to eight inches of rain in the North Bay mountains and lesser amounts across the rest of the Bay Area, National Weather Service forecasters said.

High winds of 15 to 25 mph with gusts up to 35 mph are also forecast, which will make driving difficult, especially for taller vehicles.

The wind may cause fallen trees and power outages, according to the weather service.

It’s “going to be a little on the breezy side,” weather service forecaster Diana Henderson said.

The rain will mean slick roads and longer commute times.

Weather service officials said the rain will start falling Thursday and continue into Friday, with a lull late Friday and Saturday morning. On Saturday afternoon, the rain is forecast to start again and persist through Monday.

Rain totals in the valleys and urban areas will be less than in the mountains. Forecasters are predicting 3.05 inches for San Francisco over the five-day period, 1.72 inches for San Jose and 6.72 inches for Santa Rosa, according to the weather service.

Creeks and streams are expected to rise as the ground is saturated from recent storms, according to meteorologist Holly Osborne with the weather service’s California Nevada River Forecast Center.

Free sand bags are available to San Francisco residents from the city’s Department of Public Works’ operations yard at Kansas and Marin streets from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. today through Saturday and again on Monday.

The Russian River is currently forecast to peak at 31.6 feet in Guerneville on Saturday morning, just below flood stage of 32 feet, Osborne said. During this rainy season, the river has risen only to 23 feet.

No other major rivers in the Bay Area are forecast to possibly reach flood stage during the five-day period, Osborne said.

PG&E is preparing for possible power outages by monitoring the storms with its meteorologists and putting additional crews on standby to respond to outages, utility spokeswoman Stephanie Dell said.