Bay Area weather: atmospheric river dumps rain, unleashes wind

Heavy rain and powerful winds lashed the Bay Area on Tuesday, as another atmospheric river spread across the Golden State.

While much of the moisture was directed along the Central Coast, Southern California and Baja California, the Bay Area took a beating in the afternoon hours with forceful winds and gusts.

A high wind advisory went into effect at 7 a.m. for the East Bay, South Bay, San Mateo Peninsula and lower levels of the Central Coast.

Peak wind gusts around the Oakland International Airport are forecast to reach 74 mph. In Palo Alto, gusts could reach 59 mph and 52 mph in Richmond. By 5:22 p.m., San Francisco had already seen 77 mph gusts.

Whipping winds are projected to stick around through 9 p.m.

KTVU meteorologist Mark Tamayo broke down Tuesday's weather event and described the system as a "bomb cyclone", which resulted in the volatile winds seen across the region.

A bomb cyclone occurs when atmospheric pressure drops very quickly in a strong storm.

Rainfall poses another threat to the Bay Area behind the wind. The lower elevations around the Bay Area may receive an inch of rain.

The Santa Cruz and interior Monterey Mountains could get between 1.75 inches to 2.50 inches of rain. The Central Coast Mountains are forecast to receive up to three inches of rain.

The combination of continued rain, high winds, and saturated soils poses a set of hazards familiar to the Bay Area as it won't take much wind to cause more damage, according to KTVU meteorologist Roberta Gonzalez.