Gusting rainstorm cuts power, floods roads

Rain and wind knocked out power, delayed flights, flooded roads and was at least partly responsible for a highway crash that injured two police officers Friday.

Precipitation started falling across the North Bay at around 9 p.m. Thursday and moved south into San Francisco and Oakland by late this morning. By afternoon, the first potent storm of the season had dropped just over two inches of rain near Mill Creek Road northwest of Guerneville and 2.20 inches on Mount Saint Helena.

The Santa Rosa airport reported 0.62 inches, while 0.53 inches fell near Richmond and 0.40 inches in the hills east of Berkeley, National Weather Service meteorologist Roger Gass said.

Farther south, Hayward received only 0.02 inches and Redwood City reported only 0.07 inches, but those totals were expected to increase, Gass said.

San Jose is expected to get one-half to three-quarters of an inch by Sunday.

Glass said:

“It’s definitely a potent storm for this early in October.”

Glass added, though, it’s not out of the ordinary.

The rainy season in the Bay Area started Oct. 1. Though residents of the North Bay were the first to get wet and blown around, no flooding had been reported in either Marin or Napa counties, public works officials in those two counties said.

Closer to the Bay, California Highway Patrol officials reported flooded traffic lanes and even whole roadways flooded.

All lanes of northbound Interstate Highway 880 at Market Street in Oakland were flooded as of about 1 p.m.

The power was out to 12,652 PG&E customers across the Bay Area as of 3 p.m., with most of those in the East Bay. Nearly 8,000 East Bay customers were in the dark, while 4,365 were out in the North Bay.

Most of the roughly 1,300 customers without power in San Francisco had their power restored by 3 p.m. Fewer than 300 customers were out of power on the Peninsula and less than 20 in the South Bay.

PG&E spokeswoman Abby Figueroa said the storm caused nearly all of the power outages.

An outage earlier in the day in Daly City wreaked havoc on BART, causing delays of 30 to 60 minutes for travelers heading south of the Daly City BART station.

Rain in the Bay Area is expected to last through Sunday.

Wind has also been part of the storm with gusts of 52 mph at Atlas Peak in Napa County, 40 mph in the Oakland Hills and 32 mph at San Francisco International Airport.

The key for pilots has been the wind, airport spokesman Doug Yakel said.

Usually the winds blow from the north, but the storm is blowing from the south, causing pilots to land and depart at 180 degrees from normal.

“And that does add to our delays,” Yakel said.

Airport officials were reporting 102 cancellations and 200 flight delays as of about 2 p.m.

Numerous public agencies issued warnings to residents and visitors before the storm.

CHP officials warned of slick roads as the rain loosened the buildup of oil on streets and highways.

Two Oakland police officers crashed and suffered minor injuries when they lost control of their motorcycles on Interstate Highway 580 near the MacArthur Boulevard exit.

Both were taken to a hospital for treatment, police said.

Officials in San Francisco, Pleasanton and Orinda have opened depots where residents can pick up sandbags.

San Francisco residents who are prone to flooding can get 10 free sandbags at a public works operations center at Kansas and Marin streets. The center is open Monday to Saturday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

In Pleasanton, residents can pickup free sandbags Monday to Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the operations services center at 3333 Busch Road. Residents must bring their own shovel.

In Orinda, sandbags are available at the Moraga-Orinda fire station No. 44 at 295 Orchard Road, according to police.