Third storm in a week brings more rain, snow to California

AP News
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Posted: Dec 14, 2015 4:42 AM
Third storm in a week brings more rain, snow to California

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A third winter-like storm in a week brought rain and strong winds to much of Northern California and snow to the Sierra Nevada during the weekend.

Sheets of pouring rain made for treacherous driving on Sunday. One person was injured in an accident on Highway 101 that blocked all lanes near San Rafael, north of San Francisco, the California Highway Patrol said.

Showers and thunderstorms happened throughout the day, and officials reminded residents to drive slowly, saying there was debris and flooding on the freeways.

After a lull Saturday, the system moved into parched California on Sunday packing precipitation, strong winds, lightning and hail.

The latest storm dumped slightly less rain in the state than the previous systems.

The National Weather Service issued a strong wind advisory for the San Francisco Bay Area that stayed in effect through Sunday night. Winds delayed arriving and departing flights at the Oakland and San Francisco International airports, officials said.

Pacific Gas and Electric Co. said several there were several power outages in the Bay Area and that power was restored to hundreds of affected customers a few hours later.

In Southern California, chains were required Saturday on several roads leading to the Bear Mountain and Snow Summit resorts after several inches of snow fell on the San Bernardino Mountains. A storm Friday dropped 6 inches at higher elevations and brought rain, hail and thunderstorms elsewhere.

The Southern California coast remained under a high surf advisory through Sunday, with unpredictable waves topping 10 feet.

In the Los Angeles area, authorities said flash flooding sent mud and rock across Interstate 5 north of Los Angeles, forcing an hourslong closure of northbound lanes in Castaic and causing traffic to back up for miles.

California Highway Patrol Officer Peter Bishop said a 35-mile stretch of northbound lanes were closed Sunday night due to flooding at Fort Tejon, about 75 miles north of downtown Los Angeles. The Los Angeles Times reported that the roadway reopened after more than three hours.

Forecasters have said a strong El Nino weather system could drench California and other parts of the West in the coming months. However, Johnny Burg, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Seattle, said he didn't believe the latest Northwest storms were related to El Nino, a warming in the Pacific Ocean that can alter weather worldwide.

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Associated Press writer Christopher Weber in Los Angeles contributed to this report.