SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - A storm expected to be one of the windiest and rainiest in five years swept across the San Francisco Bay Area on Thursday, knocking out power to tens to thousands and delaying travel by air, train and ferry.
Pacific Gas & Electric is reporting outages are widespread across the Bay Area due to weather, but officials weren't immediately available to give a specific number of outages.
A spokesman for Bay Area Rapid Transit says a PG&E transformer appeared to have malfunctioned near the system's Montgomery Street station. Jim Allison said the station has been shut to both BART trains and trains from the city's Muni transit system and there's no estimate on when it will reopen.
High winds canceled some ferry service east of San Francisco. At least 10 ferry departures around the region were canceled Thursday due to weather conditions, the San Francisco Bay Ferry reported on its website.
One rider was taking it in stride early Thursday.
"I know it's a big storm supposedly but they're treating it like it's a hurricane," said Malcolm Oubre, a Vallejo resident heading to work as an administrative assistant in San Francisco. It's just "lots of rain, lots of wind."
Brief gusts of wind blasted the Golden Gate Bridge and high waves were crashing.
Some flights arriving at San Francisco International Airport were facing delays averaging three hours and 40 minutes, The Federal Aviation Administration reported on its website.
The storm could cause debris slides, especially in areas affected by this year's intense and widespread wildfires. Big waves are expected along the coast, and ski resorts in the northern Sierra Nevada could get more than 2 feet of snow.
More than 4 inches of rain was reported in Sonoma County before dawn, and flood warnings were in effect for points along the Russian and Navarro rivers in Mendocino County and the Eel River in Humboldt County, the weather service said. Some tree damage and roadway flooding was reported.
As much as 8 inches of rain could fall on coastal mountains over a 24-hour period, the weather service said.
"It's a short amount of time for that amount of water," forecaster Diana Henderson said. "We are anticipating some localized flooding. maybe some downed trees and downed power lines. It could have an effect on a wide range of people."
Residents rushed to buy emergency supplies, with some stores running out of water, batteries and flashlights. Some cities announced on their Twitter accounts that they had no sandbags or sand left by Wednesday evening.
The storm is expected to later pound parts of Southern California before a weakening system moves east through Nevada, Idaho, Arizona and New Mexico. Those states could get rain and snow, but nothing like what California is expected to experience, forecasters say.
Public schools in several Bay Area cities, including San Francisco, Oakland and Berkeley, and some private schools canceled Thursday classes.
A wastewater truck crashed early Thursday into a 2,000-pound eucalyptus that had fallen along Interstate 80 east of San Francisco but the driver was not injured, the California Highway Patrol said.
Wind gusts of up to 70 mph were expected on mountain tops, creating possible blizzard conditions in the Sierra. Rain, pounding surf and gusty winds were forecast for Southern California starting Thursday evening.
In California's agricultural heartland, farmers were looking forward to the dousing after three consecutive dry years. Parts of the state have experienced above-average rainfall this year but not enough to make much of a dent in the drought.
James McFarlane, a third-generation farmer in Fresno County, said workers would have to stop picking citrus crops during the storm, but rain this time of year makes fruit bigger, allowing it to fetch higher prices.
"If we're not getting some Mother Nature-dictated time off out in the field, that probably means we're going to have a hard time finding surface water in the warmer months," he said.
The rain and snow in the Sierra Nevada fill reservoirs that supply irrigation water during hot, dry months.
Farther north, a series of strong weather fronts with high winds and heavy rains has led to flooding and landslides in western Washington.
Firefighters rescued eight people from two homes Wednesday evening in the small community of Brinnon about 25 miles west of Seattle after they were trapped by rising waters from a nearby river, officials said.
A mud and debris slide from a slope adjacent to the main rail line between Seattle and Everett has halted passenger train traffic until Friday evening, BNSF Railway spokesman Gus Melonas said.
On the southwest Washington coast, KING-TV reported that two houses collapsed into high water as the land beneath them eroded.
High winds were also forecast in Oregon.
The heaviest rain accumulation will set up along I-95 North and to the east of D.C. as an area of low pressure scurries up with eastern seaboard.
Everything should move out through the afternoon tomorrow but winds will pick up as the precip exits.
It's been a grey start to December, but we finally saw a nice, clear day today. This was the first fully sunny day since November 21st! Soak up the sun early tomorrow morning because clouds will quickly thicken, as our next weather system approaches the area.
A developing area of low pressure, off the coast of the Carolinas, will increase cloud cover through the day Monday. With the clouds, temperatures will only reach the mid 30s by the afternoon. Here is a look at forecast highs on Monday.
Both the morning and evening commutes will be dry, with wet weather from the coastal storm arriving after 8 PM. Temperatures won't fall much overnight Monday into Tuesday, in fact, temperatures may actually climb a few degrees with an easterly wind component. Check out our local simulation of radar at 10 PM Monday (1st image below) and 6 AM Tuesday (2nd image).
This model depicts all rain, which seems to be the trend among most guidance. As the coastal low tracks farther north Tuesday, there may be a brief transition to snow late Tuesday night well NW of D.C. Little to no accumulation is expected. In fact, by Tuesday at 8 PM the coastal storm will be greatly impacting New England. Here is a simulation of the coastal storm at 8 PM Tuesday.
This will be a predominately rain event for us with the greatest snow potential over interior New England. Check out forecast snowfall accumulations by Thursday afternoon. Areas shaded in pink could receive over 10" of snow.
The area of low pressure will get cut-off from the jet stream midweek and will spin freely over New England through at least Thursday. That means added clouds for us Wednesday and Thursday with possible light rain and snow showers.
There are still uncertainties to the forecast, since the coastal storm has yet to develop. The Stormwatch weather team will continue to update the forecast, as new information becomes available.
The pattern doesn't appear like it will change anytime soon after bringing nearly an inch of rain to parts of the region Monday night into Tuesday and clouds on Wednesday. Thursday should experience a lull in the action, just in time for the National Christmas Tree Lighting, which Chief Meteorologist Doug Hill will be out live broadcasting tomorrow evening.
At this point we are expecting some sunshine in the morning hours followed by afternoon clouds as the next system pushes in from the west. A few models have depicted the chance for a few showers late tomorrow night into Friday morning, but this should be a low probability at this point with the best chance south and west of D.C.
Looking west, an area of low pressure has been bringing inches of rain to parts of California over the past few days. A bit of energy and associated moisture has spun off this system and will help bring clouds to our region Thursday afternoon through Friday night.
Another area of energy will push into Southern California tonight into Thursday morning. This disturbance will move across the U.S. and into the Mid Atlantic this weekend, increasing chances for rain Friday night into the day Saturday.
Beyond Saturday, there are stark differences in model depictions, with a few models spinning up additional areas of low pressure off the east coast and socking the region in clouds and precipitation Sunday and Monday, and another completely clearing the region out Sunday with sunshine and mild temperatures. We will get a much better handle on this forecast in the next 12-24 hours but at this point are content on keeping the rain chances in for Sunday and again Monday.
A cold front will sweep through the region on Monday afternoon/evening. Temperatures will fall behind the front, eventually ending up in the 30s for overnight lows!
Eventually that front will stall just to the south of the region. An area of low pressure will ride along the front Monday night into Tuesday bringing precip with it. At the same time, high pressure will move front the Great Lakes region to the New England area. Eventually this evening, our winds will shift to the north and east bringing moisture and cooler air off the Atlantic Ocean and right into our area. What happens is, that moisture banks up against the mountains to our west creating a “cold air damming” affect or CAD. This set up generally makes forecasting that much more difficult, especially when determining precipitation types because that colder air will slide right under the warm air aloft which would make the precip type more of that of a wintry mix (freezing rain/sleet).
Just around daybreak and into the morning commute, we will start to experience some spotty sleet and freezing rain, mainly north and west of D.C. (Loudoun County and Central and Western Montgomery County and points northwest). Inside the beltway, along I-95 and areas to the south and east, this event mainly looks like a very cold rain event but I can’t rule out some isolated pockets around D.C. of the wintry mix.
This is NOT looking like a major event but since it comes for the morning rush, there could be some problems (as there tends to be, even if it is just plain rain). And we are really not expecting that much to accumulate at all, perhaps just a glaze in some areas. Surface road temperatures, especially around the D.C. area, are above freezing so just like last Wednesday, any frozen precip that falls will have a hard time sticking. However, north and west of town on some rural roads, elevated surfaces (bridges and overpasses) and even exits could have some slick spots.
Again, I do not think this is going to be a huge event but I don’t want it to take anybody by surprise when our temperatures do not make it out of the 30s tomorrow (considering we are around 70 in a lot of the area on Monday).
Warm air will start to erode the shallow layer of cold air and any wintry mix will turn to plain rain by the afternoon hours. Most of the precipitation should move north around the kickoff of the evening commute but I do expect there to be some drizzle and fog around the region – there could even be some freezing drizzle at the high elevations). Temperatures rebound into the lower 50s on Wednesday but another bout of precipitation could be on the horizon for Friday.
Some bridges and overpasses could become slick. Sleet is also possible in Frederick, Montgomery, Loudoun Counties and northwest of D.C. We're expecting just a cold rain in DC. A few sleet pellets are possible in the city, but surface/road temperatures will stay above freezing, so expect just a wet morning commute.
The first of December, and the start of meteorological winter, will be unseasonably warm. Our average high this time of year is 52°. After topping out in the 60s today, we'll climb back into the 60s tomorrow with a warm southwesterly breeze. Here are forecast highs for the eastern half of the U.S. Monday.
While we'll enjoy one more warm day, notice temperatures behind the cold front to our west. Highs will only reach single digits and 20s in the Midwest. That airmass will filter in late Monday night into Tuesday.
The cold front will slide through late Monday bringing a slight chance of rain showers by the Monday evening commute. Here's our in-house computer simulation of rain and clouds at 5 PM Monday.
Temperatures will fall into the 30s and 40s overnight Monday. An area of low pressure will develop along the cold front and will keep precipitation around through the day Tuesday. With colder air at the surface, and aloft, the potential arises for wintry weather. These are forecast temperatures Tuesday morning. Notice temperatures will be in the upper 30s in the D.C. Metro with low 30s, freezing or below, west of the I-81 corridor.
This is one of those tricky forecasts in determining precipitation type; however, it will likely impact your Tuesday AM commute to some degree. Here is one model simulation of precipitation type Tuesday morning. Green is rain, blue is snow, pink is freezing rain, and orange is sleet.
Fortunately, the precipitation totals will be light. If any snow, ice accumulates, it will be far NW. Remember, temperatures will be in the 60s the day before, so ground temperatures should remain above freezing. Here's a forecast ice accumulation graphic by the Weather Prediction Center. The highest likelihood (50% and higher) of any ice accumulation is in our far NW suburbs and west of I-81.
This will not be a major winter event by any means, but it may create a slow go on the roads Tuesday morning. The StormWatch weather team will continue to monitor the weather situation and update you with new information as it becomes available.
The year is quickly drawing to a close and the holidays are now in full swing. While many beg for a white Christmas, do you know we’ve had our fair share of white Thanksgivings in the past? Remember warm turkey days when you could host a game of kickball or football without the chill of late November weather? What about the coldest Thanksgivings when a cup of hot cocoa went well with your turkey meal?
Here is a list of the top warmest, coldest, snowiest and wettest Thanksgiving Days in the nation’s capital.
Top 7 Warmest Top 6 Coldest Mornings
1. 77 degrees – 2007 1. 18 degrees - 1902
2. 75 degrees – 1979 & 1933 2. 19 degrees - 1903
3. 73 degrees - 1927 3. 21 degrees - 1930 & 1894
4. 72 degrees – 1896 4. 22 degrees - 1892
5. 71 degrees – 1987 5. 23 degrees - 1938, 1905 and 1901
6. 69 degrees – 1973 & 1966 6. 24 degrees - 1917 and 1895
7. 68 degrees – 1968
Top 5 Snowiest Top 5 Wettest
1. 1.9" - 1989 1. 1.15" - 1971
2. 1.0" - 1971 2. 0.96" - 1916
3. 0.6" - 1912 3. 0.93" - 1935
4. 0.5" - 1938 4. 0.91" - 1945 & 1886
5. 0.2" - 1901& 1898 5. 0.77" - 1938 & 1966
Although the Thanksgiving weekend is drawing to a close on the warm side, much more seasonal weather is just around the corner next week. For more on the forecast, click here.
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1:07pm: Snow is beginning to taper off in spots already but light precipitation will continue to fall over the next few hours. Any additional accumulations will be very light in nature and no additional accumulations are expected on the roads with temperatures mainly above freezing.
11:25am Update: The transition to snow has occurred across the majority of the D.C. Metro. Heavy snow is being reported across much of the metro which has caused visibilities to plunge to a quarter of a mile in spots. The Dulles Toll Road recently reported some slushy road conditions in spots and crews have been dispatched to treat the roadways. Here's a look at the latest Doppler radar image.
We are still thinking snow will end later on this afternoon closer to 3pm west of D.C. and 4pm around the Metro.
10am Update: Rain will continue to be likely along and east of I-95. Wet snowflakes will mix in at times with a better chance for flakes closer to Noon through the early afternoon hours.
Areas west of I-95 will continue to see wet snow, with the potential for rates of a half on an inch to an inch per hour in some locations. Current temperatures are mainly above freezing at the surface, so snowfall rates will need to be heavy in order for accumulations on the road surfaces.
We have been seeing many areas still experiencing accumulating snow on the roads, even as close as Leesburg, VA. We will continue to keep you posted with the latest snowfall totals, where it is and when it will end. As of now, snow and rain looks to end by 3 or 4pm this afternoon.
WASHINGTON (AP/WJLA) - Rain and snow rolled into the Northeast on Wednesday as millions of Americans made the big Thanksgiving getaway, grounding hundreds of flights and turning highways sloppy along the congested Washington-to-Boston corridor.
More than 600 flights were canceled, the bulk of them in the Northeast. Thousands of flight delays on what is easily one of the busiest travel days of the year were also occurred as the snow spread.
Some travelers tried to change their plans and take earlier flights as major airlines waived their re-booking fees. But most planes were already filled.
Major Northeast cities saw moderate to heavy rain most of the day, although D.C. got a dusting of snow.
The heaviest snow accumulations in the D.C. region occurred north and west of the city, with elevations west of the Interstate 95 corridor seeing 6 inches or more before the nor'easter exited on Wednesday evening.
The National Weather Service issued a Winter Storm Warning for Frederick and Loudoun counties and a Winter Weather Advisory for Montgomery, Fairfax and Prince William counties. Those alerts were lifted as of 6 p.m.
A snowfall of up to 7 inches across central and western Maryland made highway travel difficult on the day before Thanksgiving; police reported numerous accidents on slippery roads in Frederick County.
Dan Albert had hoped to beat the snow as he, his wife and 15-year-old daughter refueled their SUV Wednesday morning along I-81 in Hagerstown, Maryland, on their way to their Thanksgiving destination in New Jersey.
"Got to see the folks. We only get to see them once a year. Got to muscle through it, right?" Albert said. He did hit some snow later in the day, but said it was no match for the Chevrolet Suburban he rented.
An estimated 41.3 million travelers were hitting the nation's highways for Thanksgiving holiday travel, a 4.3 percent increase over last year, according to AAA.
The Virginia Department of Transportation said its highway crews were out in full force with snow plows where needed.
DOT officials said they couldn't pretreat the highways because the storm started as rain, which would've just washed the brine away. As the rain changed over to snow, there were accumulations of anywhere from an inch to six inches across Virginia.
The wintry weather was not confined to the Northeast. An Alberta clipper impacted the upper Midwest, leaving many highways in North and South Dakota slick, and a Winter Storm Warning in effect for parts of Minnesota.
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