Bay Area braces for heavier rain after earlier warm-up storms

Wednesday night's storm, the strongest so far in this series, racked up relatively few major problems with Marin's Mount Tamalpais – the winner in the badly needed water derby. 

In a matter of speaking the initial rain was the storm before the storm and just a warm-up for the next round during sandbag season. 

The toughest test in this series of storms and more potential power outages will be here soon. 

"Storm related outages through this weekend and also on Monday. because we are expecting quite a  bit of rain, wind and that can lead to some outages," said Pacific Gas & Electric spokeswoman Tamar Sarkissian.

PG&E reports that in the overnight storm, 11,000 Bay Area customers lost power (they initially reported more than 14,000), most of which was resolved by early morning. Mid-morning there were smaller, scattered outages in Napa, Oakland and San Francisco. 

All in all, a relatively small number of overall Bay Area customers, attributable in part, to PG&E's strengthening its system against wildfire risk. 

That's better than earlier this week when mud and dust coated equipment arced causing widespread outages. "We have seen some customers impacted. We have been able to switch a lot of those customers to different lines so they can restored as quickly as possible," said Sarkissian.

At four and a quarter inches by 8 a.m. Thursday, Marin's Mt. Tamalpais, got the Bay Area's biggest dose of rain. That has got to be encouraging news for Marin Municipal Water District's very low reservoir situation, most of which are in the Mount Tam's watershed. 

"These last two years have been so dry that, you know, the soil on Mt. Tam is really parched and most of this rainfall is going to be absorbed into that soil," said Marin Municipal Water District’s Emma Detwiler. 

But, a significant amount of water will get into the reservoirs. "What we'd really like to see is a cadence of storms. You know, a couple of inches here, maybe a break, a couple more inches. We really need to see  that steady pattern of rainfall to create the runoff that we're looking for," said Detwiler.

Even storm damage was minimal. A tree came down in San Francisco, with trees usually a victim of drought, disease, wind or, as is often the case, all three. 

Traffic wise there were relatively few accidents as slow and go paid off for drivers who've not seen significant rain in a long time. 

"This weather pattern is typical this time of year, but I don't know how much it's gonna help. It's some rain and everything does help some," said Chris Kievman who was walking his dog. 

"I'm excited. I'm just thrilled. I'd be out dancing, It's wonderful. It's great fun," said one motorist. That would likely be a rain dance.

Keep in mind for now: conserve, conserve since half of residential water goes to outdoor uses.