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Showers forecast for Saturday, more intense storm Sunday

A bus stop on 15th Street near Q Street is more crowded than normal as power outages on RT’s south line left riders no choice other than buses to get to their destinations on Friday , Feb. 6, 2015 in Sacramento. A storm is moving through the area, bringing much-needed rain to the region.
A bus stop on 15th Street near Q Street is more crowded than normal as power outages on RT’s south line left riders no choice other than buses to get to their destinations on Friday , Feb. 6, 2015 in Sacramento. A storm is moving through the area, bringing much-needed rain to the region.

Periods of intense rain during Friday’s evening commute hours were expected to give way to more gradual rainfall through the night.

Sacramento International Airport recorded an inch of rain Friday, and Sacramento Executive Airport reported 0.94 inches, said Tom Dang, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service. Downtown Sacramento recorded 0.74 inches.

Dang said the Sacramento region dodged the worst of the wind, with speeds of 10 to 25 mph. Stockton, to the south, as well as areas to the north saw winds of 40 to 50 mph.

The northern part of the state also received significantly more rain. Dang said a total of 7 inches was reported Friday in Sims, in Shasta County, above Shasta Lake. “A good part of the Shasta Lake drainage received 4 to 7 inches,” he said. Many areas of the Sierra, he said, recorded 1 to 2 inches of rain.

Showers are forecast Saturday with the possibility of thunderstorms, and temperatures in the low 60s.

The next band of heavy precipitation is forecast for Sunday, with the heaviest rain expected around midday, Dang said. Sunday also will be breezy, he said, but the winds likely won’t as strong as those the Sacramento area experienced Friday.

Rain began falling on the region about 5 a.m. Friday. The storm brought thunder and scattered lightning, which contributed to the first major effects in the region.

A bolt of lightning struck a Regional Transit overhead line just before 9 a.m. Friday, cutting off power to the Blue Line. RT spokeswoman Devra Selenis said buses were used to ferry riders between the 13th Street and Meadowview stations.

Lightning is also thought to be the case of power outages that affected some 34,000 Sacramento Municipal Utility District customers, or about 5 percent of the utility’s entire customer base. Spokesman Chris Capra said it is likely the bulk of the outages were caused by lightning bolts striking two substations.

The outages affected customers in Sacramento’s Land Park, Curtis Park and Arden neighborhoods, as well as parts of Rancho Cordova and Carmichael. Power was restored to most customers by about noon.

Brooke Bingaman, a weather service forecaster, said the lightning and thunderstorms were caused by instability from the large storm. Most of the lightning occurred between Sacramento and Galt, she said.

The Pacific Gas and Electric Co. reported that 636 customers in Clarksburg were without power. PG&E spokeswoman Brandi Ehlers said the Clarksburg outage, along with a few isolated outages in the Sierra foothills, were all weather-related. Several thousand additional customers lost power in Shasta and Plumas counties due to high winds that knocked out trees and powerlines.

Forecasters expect the storm to pick up dramatically Friday evening. Wind gusts, averaging 25 mph, are expected to hit 40 mph in some areas. The weather service is predicting about 2 inches of rain through Saturday.

The weather also contributed to a crash on Interstate 5 in downtown Sacramento in which a big-rig truck jackknifed in the southbound lanes. This caused traffic to back up for several hours.

Here’s the updated seven-day forecast:

▪ Saturday: Showers likely, with thunderstorms also possible after 10 a.m. Mostly cloudy, with a temperature falling to around 57 by 10 a.m. Southeast wind 11 to 18 mph, with gusts as high as 28 mph. Chance of precipitation is 70 percent. New rainfall amounts between a tenth and quarter of an inch, except higher amounts possible in thunderstorms.

▪ Saturday night: Showers likely. Cloudy, with a low around 57. Southeast wind 11 to 14 mph, with gusts as high as 21 mph. Chance of precipitation is 60 percent. New precipitation amounts between a quarter and half of an inch possible.

▪ Sunday: Rain, with thunderstorms also possible after 10 a.m. High near 64. Breezy, with a south wind 15 to 23 mph, with gusts as high as 36 mph. Chance of precipitation is 80 percent.

▪ Sunday night: Rain and possibly a thunderstorm. Low around 53. Chance of precipitation is 80 percent.

▪ Monday: A chance of showers, with thunderstorms also possible after 10 a.m. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 62. Chance of precipitation is 50 percent.

▪ Monday night: A slight chance of showers. Partly cloudy, with a low around 44.

▪ Tuesday: Sunny, with a high near 63.

▪ Tuesday night: Mostly clear, with a low around 43.

▪ Wednesday: Sunny, with a high near 64.

▪ Wednesday night: Clear, with a low around 44.

▪ Thursday: Sunny, with a high near 65.

▪ Thursday night: Mostly clear, with a low around 45.

Call The Bee’s Richard Chang at (916) 321-1018. Follow him on Twitter @RichardYChang.

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