Atmospheric river grips Bay Area, bringing heavy rain and strong winds

An atmospheric river that swept across the Bay Area over the weekend continued to drench the region Monday. 

The much-needed rain was a welcome sight for the parched region, although it brought challenges.

In Santa Cruz County, evacuation warnings were issued Monday evening for parts of the San Lorenz Valley and areas burned by the CZU Complex fire in 2020. More details about the evacuation warnings are available here from the Santa Cruz County sheriff's office.

The National Weather Service warned that streams and creeks would rise and that some flooding was likely. A flood watch is in effect until 10 p.m. Monday for the Bay Area.

At higher elevations, the storm brought heavy snow. Areas near Lake Tahoe, including the Palisades Tahoe resort, reported receiving more than 20 inches by Monday afternoon.

Half Moon Bay got a dose, where a credit union was flooded out. Water seeped through San Mateo Credit Union and firefighters were called to the area and used sandbags to control the inflow of water, the CAL FIRE San Mateo - Santa Cruz Unit said.


Fire officials said two people were trapped in their vehicle in floodwaters along Highway 92 in San Mateo County. Fortunately, firefighters were able to free them from the vehicle.

Scaffolding fell from a construction site on El Camino Real in San Mateo, striking several cars passing beneath.

Trees toppled in other areas. A home in Forestville was cut in half by a fallen tree. Fires harmed by recent wildfires were seen as especially vulnerable to trees falling in the storm.

Totals for the last 48 hours show heavy rain in some locations around the greater Bay Area, with Mt. Tamalpais in Marin County topping the list with 9 inches.

Peak wind gusts near Livermore reached 77 mph.

PG&E reported power outages affected 10,000 Bay Area customers, although that number had dropped by Monday evening to fewer than 8,000.

"Most of the outages we have seen are in the Peninsula and South Bay, where PG&E crews are working to restore power safely and as quickly as possible," PG&E said in a statement.

Forecasters said the storm will intensify during the afternoon and evening hours. The rain was expected to taper off on Tuesday morning.

The multi-day storm, that's sucking up moisture from the Pacific Ocean is expected to dump more than 8 feet of snow on the highest peaks in California and Nevada and drench other parts of the two states before it moves on midweek, forecasters said.

"This is a pretty widespread event," said National Weather Service meteorologist Anna Wanless. "Most of California, if not all, will see some sort of rain and snow."

The storm will bring much-needed moisture to the West Coast region that’s been gripped by drought that scientists have said is caused by climate change.