The much-anticipated storm hitting Sacramento could deliver a record rainfall, potentially more than three inches before easing up about 7 or 8 p.m., National Weather Service officials say.
“It’s going to be messy this afternoon,” National Weather Service meteorologist Bill Rasch said. “The heaviest rain is going to be during the afternoon commute.”
Rainfall was starting to add up in the Sacramento region. Rainfall amounts as of noon: 1.18 of an inch in Rio Linda, 0.57 in Sacramento, 0.72 at Executive Airport, 0.72 at Sacramento International Airport, 0.35 at Folsom Lake, 0.51 in Elk Grove, 0.51 in Loomis, 0.47 in Orangevale and 0.55 in Roseville.
Gusts were hitting 40 mph at various spots in Sacramento, with high wind warnings in open areas of Yolo and Sacramento counties, and numerous reports of downed trees. Freeway traffic was light and smooth during the morning commute, the California Highway Patrol reported, with a spokesman saying it appears some workers decided to stay home.
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Sacramento International Airport was reporting a handful of departure and arrival delays of morning flights, as well as canceled flights to and from Sacramento.
A mudslide forced the closure of Highway 16 between Rumsey, Yolo County, and the junction of Highway 16 and Highway 20 in Colusa County, Caltrans reported on Twitter.
Caltrans reported flooding on the Interstate 5 Balls Ferry on-ramp near Anderson, south of Redding.
The Sacramento Municipal Utility District was dealing with two dozen power outages, most of them small, around Sacramento County at 9:30 a.m., and officials said they expect more power issues as the heaviest part of the storm moves through this afternoon.
A SMUD worker while on duty was struck by a vehicle about 7:30 a.m. near Rio Linda Boulevard and Alamos Avenue. His condition was not known, but he was awake and alert, said a SMUD spokesman.
Pacific Gas & Electric reported 3,500 customers in Davis were without electricity earlier today, and 1,300 were without power in Dixon as of 9:30 a.m. PG&E reported 6,600 customers without power in the northern Sacramento Valley.
PG&E is reporting outages are widespread across the Bay Area due to weather, including an outage in downtown San Francisco that knocked out power to 50,000 customers.
The National Weather Service Office in Sacramento was reporting early Thursday morning that surface winds may not be as high in the valley as initially expected, but should increase by mid-day.
Peak gusts at 8 a.m.: 35 mph at Mather Airport, 32 mph at Auburn Municipal Airport, 19 at El Dorado Hills, 38 mph at Sacramento International Airport and 22 in Rancho Cordova. A gust of 63 mph was reported at the Redding airport and a gust of 69 mph at Blue Canyon.
But winds were much higher in the Sierra Nevada. A gust of 135 mph was recorded on Mt. Lincoln at Sugar Bowl Ski Area near Donner Summit. Numerous gusts above 90 mph were recorded in the mountains.
Firefighters were mindful of high winds spreading an early morning house fire to adjacent residences in South Sacramento. The fire broke out around 6 a.m. at 32nd Avenue and Jacks Lane, sending two people to the hospital. Firefighters acted quickly to pull the victims from the fire.
Firefighter and department spokesman Roberto Padilla said “there was concern that the fire would spread to additional homes due to wind conditions.” Firefighters were able to prevent spread to nearby structures despite winds gusting at 30 mph.
Flooding was anticipated at several locations along the Sacramento River, particularly in Red Bluff starting Thursday afternoon. Cache Creek in Yolo County is also predicted to rise to monitor stage after midnight Thursday.
High winds in the Sierra prompted the closure of at least two ski resorts, Boreal and Mt. Rose.
The Sacramento public library system announced Thursday morning that three branches in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta region would be closed due to the storm: Courtland, Isleton and Walnut Grove. Book-return deadlines were also extended at most other branches so that patrons would not have to go out in the storm to return library materials. See a list of closures in the Sacramento region.
The Kings announced that work was halted on their new downtown arena, and cranes, excavators and other pieces of machinery were being moved onto paved areas in case of flooding.
Save Mart Supermarkets said all its stores were open, at least for the time being. “We’re anticipating that there could be potential power issues,” said spokeswoman Alicia Rockwell. A handful of Safeway stores in the Bay Area closed.
At least one industry welcomed the wet weather with very little reservation. “This is the time of year when it’s supposed to rain,” said Dave Kranz of the California Farm Bureau Federation.
Warren Bogle of Bogle Vineyards in Clarksburg said the high winds shouldn’t present much of a problem to the grapevines. “All the leaves are off, so the winds should go right through the canopies,” he said.
Residents in Sacramento may call 211 for help with non-emergency issues such as where to get sandbags or find temporary shelter from the storm.
The detailed, seven-day forecast from the NWS for the Sacramento region:
Thursday: Rain, with thunderstorms also possible after 11 a.m. Some of the storms could produce heavy rainfall. High near 61. Windy, with a south southeast wind 25 to 33 mph, with gusts as high as 65 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. New rainfall amounts between 1 and 2 inches possible.
Tonight: Showers and possibly a thunderstorm. Low around 49. East southeast wind around 5 mph becoming calm in the evening. Chance of precipitation is 100%. New rainfall amounts between 1 and 2 inches possible.
Friday: Showers likely, with thunderstorms also possible after 11 a.m. Cloudy, with a high near 55. Southeast wind around 7 mph. Chance of precipitation is 70%. New rainfall amounts between a quarter and half of an inch possible.
Friday night: A 40 percent chance of showers. Areas of fog after 5 a.m. Otherwise, mostly cloudy, with a low around 45. Southeast wind 5 to 7 mph becoming calm in the evening. New precipitation amounts of less than a tenth of an inch possible.
Saturday: Areas of fog before 11 a.m. Otherwise, mostly sunny, with a high near 55. North northwest wind 3 to 6 mph.
Saturday night: Areas of fog after 11 p.m. Otherwise, partly cloudy, with a low around 40.
Sunday: Areas of fog before 11 a.m. Otherwise, partly sunny, with a high near 55.
Sunday night: A slight chance of rain. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 42.
Monday: A chance of showers. Cloudy, with a high near 52.
Monday night: A chance of showers. Cloudy, with a low around 46.
Tuesday: A chance of showers. Cloudy, with a high near 55.
Tuesday night: A chance of showers. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 47.
Wednesday: A chance of showers. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 56.
Call The Bee’s Bill Lindelof, (916) 321-1079.