SAN FRANCISCO — Heavy rains softened already saturated grounds and caused a landslide in the Oakland hills, while high gusts of wind Friday morning left thousands without power in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Gusts up to 48 mph ripped across San Francisco and blasts of up to 62 mph hit the Oakland area, National Weather Service meteorologist Anna Schneider said.
The National Weather Service had forecast wind gusts up to 50 mph for the Sacramento area, but the big bursts of wind topped out at around 30 mph.
In Oakland, residents of at least six homes were forced to evacuate Thursday night following a landslide.
There were no reports of injuries or damage to the homes. However, officials say evacuations were necessary due to the instability of the hillside. There were also reports of several downed trees in the area.
More than 40,000 Pacific Gas & Electric Co. customers in the San Francisco Bay Area were without power Friday morning because of the stormy weather that started Thursday and lasted into Friday.
Showers crossing the upper half of the state ramped up to rain late Thursday, with moderate rain reaching the San Francisco Bay Area on Friday. San Francisco saw about an inch of rain overnight while Oakland logged a little more.
Scattered showers will continue through Saturday afternoon when things will dry out until another small storm system hits on Wednesday, Schneider said.
Forecasters warned of significant travel disruptions Friday in the Sierra Nevada passes, around the town of Mammoth Lakes and along U.S. 395.
"Avoid travel if possible, you could be stuck in your vehicle for many hours," the weather service warned.
Forecasters upgraded a winter storm watch to a warning for heavy, wet snow, effective from midnight Thursday to 5 a.m. Saturday along the eastern Sierra, west of U.S. 395.
The Mammoth Mountain ski resort in the eastern Sierra Nevada reported early Friday that up to 26 inches of snow fell overnight, with more expected over the next day or two.
That raised the season total to 562 inches, or nearly 47 feet.
The region north of Los Angeles also was swept by wind gusts up to 60 mph along U.S. 395 and up to 125 mph on higher mountain peaks, the National Weather Service said.
All rivers in the region were expected to rise, but the flooding was only predicted in the city of Portola near Nevada, on the middle fork of the Feather River.
Accompanying strong winds could make driving difficult and topple trees and power lines, the weather service said.
Advisories for small watercraft and gale warnings were in effect along about a third of the California coast.
Rain also was expected to spread south, possibly as far as Los Angeles County.</