San Francisco Bay Area weather: region braces for intense rain

An atmospheric river that will bring heavy rain and strong wind gusts and possibly cause flooding is expected to douse the Bay Area on Saturday.

Scattered showers were popping up on Saturday morning. Light rain is expected in the evening. Heavy rain will commence late Saturday and continue into Sunday morning. Scattered showers, sometimes with heavy rain, may appear later on Sunday.

The most rain will fall in the Santa Cruz mountains, where as much as 5 to 7 inches of precipitation is possible. The North Bay Coast will get 4 to 4.5 inches while inland parts of the North Bay will receive 2.5 to 3.5 inches. Cities and towns close to the bay may get 2.5 to 4 inches, while deeper in the East Bay, 1.75 to 2.5 inches is in the forecast.  The South Bay may get 2 to 2.75 inches of rain.

The National Weather Service has issued a flood watch and wind advisory due to the severity of the storm. In addition to flooded streets and overflowing streams, there could be downed trees and mudslides. 

Gov. Gavin Newsom added San Mateo, Santa Cruz and Monterey counties to a recently issued state of emergency.

The conditions will be even more extreme in Southern California where more rain will accumulate. Santa Barbara residents are under an evacuation warning. The Sierra Nevada range, including the Lake Tahoe, meanwhile, may get buried by several feet of snow.