SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — Two storm systems set to bring significant rain to the Bay Area this week could impact the morning commute on Thursday and see wet and windy weather this weekend. Pacific Gas and Electric Company said it is ready to respond to potential power outages and is urging customers to be prepared, in a press release it sent Wednesday.
KRON4 Meteorologist Kyla Grogan said the storms will be robust.
“We will welcome December with a robust storm that promises much needed rain for the Bay Area and snow for the Sierra,” Grogan said.
When will it rain?
According to PG&E, the first significant weather system will move into the region Wednesday night and into Thursday. The system is expected to bring rain and mountain snow to much of Northern and Central California. Wind gusts of 35 to 45 mph are possible on Thursday, PG&E said.
“The rain begins in the North Bay on Wednesday evening and will progress throughout the night and into Thursday spreading across the Bay Area,” Grogan said.
But while the rain much-needed, it could have an impact on your morning commute.
“The upside: we get some beneficial rain,” said Grogan. “The downside: Thursday’s commute is not looking pretty.”
PG&E said it is prepared for other problems the weather could bring, including power outages due to wet and windy conditions causing tree limbs and other debris to fall into powerlines.
“Ahead of storms, PG&E stockpiles power poles, powerlines, transformers and other electric equipment at yards throughout our service territory in preparation to restore power to affected areas safely and as quickly as possible,” said the utility in its press release.
How much rain will we get?
While earlier models had called for rainfall of 25”-.50” in urban areas, Grogan says the revised forecast could have us see significantly more than that.
“The rain totals for this storm look impressive, models now indicating that most urban areas will see .50”-.75” from our first system,” said Grogan. “That will be followed by a weaker system moving in this weekend, still beneficial rain on Saturday and Sunday but with lower totals.”
Snow, Winter Storm and Avalanche watches for the Sierra
With the systems set to bring rain to the Bay Area, higher elevations are likely to see significant snowfall.
“In the Sierra, the Winter Storm Warnings kick in overnight Thursday through Friday morning,” said Grogan. “There is also an avalanche watch on Thursday for the Tahoe area as heavy mountain snow moves in.”
How much snow could we get?
“The Sierra is looking out for 1 to 3 feet of snow, highest amounts above 6000 feet,” said Grogan.
Storm safety tips
PG&E offers the following safety tips for storm safety this week:
- Never touch downed wires: If you see a downed power line, assume it is energized and extremely dangerous. Do not touch or try to move it—and keep children and animals away. Report downed power lines immediately by calling 9-1-1 and then PG&E at 1-800-743-5002.
- Use generators safely: Customers with standby electric generators should ensure they are properly installed by a licensed electrician in a well-ventilated area. Improperly installed generators pose a significant danger to customers, as well as crews working on powerlines. If using portable generators, be sure they are in a well-ventilated area.
- Use flashlights, not candles: During a power outage, use battery-operated flashlights and not candles, due to the risk of fire. And keep extra batteries on hand. If you must use candles, please keep them away from drapes, lampshades, animals and small children. Do not leave candles unattended.
- Have a backup phone: If you have a telephone system that requires electricity to work, such as a cordless phone or answering machine, plan to have a standard telephone or cellular phone ready as a backup. Having a portable charging device helps to keep your cell phone running.
- Have fresh drinking water and ice: Freeze plastic containers filled with water to make blocks of ice that can be placed in your refrigerator/freezer during an outage to prevent foods from spoiling.
- Turn off appliances: If you experience an outage, unplug or turn off all electrical appliances to avoid overloading circuits and to prevent fire hazards when power is restored. Simply leave a single lamp on to alert you when power returns. Turn your appliances back on one at a time when conditions return to normal.
- Safely clean up: After the storm has passed, be sure to safely clean up. Never touch downed wires and always call 8-1-1 or visit 811express.com at least two full business days before digging to have all underground utilities safely marked.
A second storm system may move into the region over the weekend, potentially bringing more wet, windy and unsettled weather.