Severe weather weekend expected; San Francisco prepares

The Bay Area is cleaning up after one round of storms, and already preparing for the next round.

Overnight rains hammered the Bay Area, and were a possible contributing factor to an overturned big rig on the Tennyson Road on-ramp to northbound I-880 in Hayward. Traffic officials say the number of accidents were double the number of a typical Friday with no rain.

Further to the north the rain fell steadily in Santa Rosa. Bringing an end to the fear of new fires in the North Bay, but the heavy rain is predicted to be a mixed blessing for an area already devastated by wild fire. 

"The forecasts right now look like we're going to have a pretty significant atmospheric river impacting the North Bay," said Paul Lownethal from Santa Rosa's Fire Department. "So, for us locally, our eyes are going to be on the Glass Fire burn scar."

Now the Bay Area is looking forward to the next round of storms. In San Francisco the Public Utilities Commission spent the day checking catch basins, many now filled with water or covered in debris. They're asking residents to pitch and and clear the basins to prevent localized flooding. 

"It's really about scraping off those leaves that can accumulate or other debris that can accumulate on the storm drains that keep them from draining properly," said Will Reisman from San Francisco's PUC. "We have a great public program and our residents are very passionate about keeping their streets clean."

The utility sent out trucks to vacuum out the catch basins, to make sure that when they are clear, they're able to handle to coming storm. 

The PUC said it's staffing up to get ready. 

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"We have strike teams which are employees with rakes that clear up the debris on top of the storm drains to make sure they don't clog and we're keeping an eye on potential problem areas in the city and we'll be able to deploy those at a moment's notice because we know that the rains are coming," said Reisman.

We also spoke with the city's Department of Emergency Management. They say it will be an all-hands on deck and they will have staff on full alert Sunday, the day the biggest storm is expected to roll through.

In the meantime they're advising residents who live in low-lying areas to sand bag and move any items that could be damaged by flooding to higher ground inside people's homes. They're predicting localized flooding and the possibility of isolated power outages over the weekend.