Atmospheric river soaks North Bay

For the second day in a row, an “atmospheric river” storm is expected to soak primarily the North Bay with another 1 to 4 inches of rain, and substantially less south of the Golden Gate, according to the National Weather Service.

Tuesday, the storm will “continue to bring moderate to heavy rainfall and flooding concerns to primarily the North Bay” through Tuesday morning before shifting south in the afternoon and evening, said Spencer Tangen, a meteorologist with the weather service in Monterey.

Strong and gusty winds are also expected through Tuesday night with the potential for downed trees and power outages.

“There’s a lot of rain falling in the North Bay and a lot more still to come,” Spencer Tangen, a meteorologist with the weather service, said Tuesday morning.

Tangen said the storm is expected to drop south to roughly San Mateo County and Oakland in the afternoon before spreading across the entire Bay Area later Tuesday evening.

“The South Bay might not see much until mid to late evening when the band pushes through,” Tangen said.

With the storm maintaining its trajectory over the North Bay, widespread flooding in small creeks and streams is expected in Sonoma, Napa and Marin counties, according to the weather service.

Tuesday morning the weather service in Monterey issued a flood warning for the Napa River near St. Helena, which means “flooding is imminent or occurring.” The weather service is forecasting waters along the Napa River will rise above the flood stage of 18 feet.

Meteorologists with the weather service also issued a flood warning for the Russian River at Johnsons Beach near Guerneville, where waters are expected to rise above flood stage of 32 feet by late Tuesday evening.

In the North Bay, 24-hour rainfall totals through Tuesday at 5:30 a.m. range from about 0.5 to 1.50 inches in eastern Marin and southern Napa counties, 2 to 4 inches in Sonoma County and the inland hills over the region. More than 5 inches fell in the coastal ranges of Sonoma County, “which has resulted in rapid rises on area creeks, streams and rivers,” according to the weather service.

Tangen noted the difference in 24-hour rainfall totals on opposite ends of the Golden Gate Bridge through 6 a.m. Tuesday. In Tiburon, 1.77 inches of rain fell during that time span, compared to .29 inches in San Francisco.

“It’s really striking,” Tangen said. “It’s really a sharp contrast, just 5 or 10 miles” separating rain gauges in those locations.

Rainfall totals in other cities south of the Golden Gate through 6 a.m. include Oakland .20 inches, Los Gatos .04 and San Jose, no measurable rain.


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