Atmospheric River Set to Slam Bay Area With Heavy Rain, Wind

A so-called atmospheric river barreling toward the Bay Area is expected to pummel the region with heavy rainfall and gusty winds Wednesday afternoon and evening, according to the National Weather Service.

The latest winter storm has triggered multiple weather alerts, including a flash flood watch for much of the Bay Area and a high wind warning for locations higher in elevation, the weather service reported.

Widespread rain is expected to fall starting around lunchtime before becoming heavier later in the afternoon and into the evening, according to weather officials.

Rainfall totals for Wednesday could soar to anywhere from 3 to 6 inches in the coastal hills, the weather service stated. Most urban areas and hills in inland areas are expected to collect 1 to 2 inches of rain. Valleys in the North Bay could pick up as much as 2.5 inches of rainfall.

The incoming deluge of rain has prompted officials to issue a flash flood watch between Wednesday afternoon and late Wednesday night for all Bay Area counties except Solano County.

Weather officials warned that urban and smaller streams could flood while larger rivers could rise rapidly.

Gusty winds are also expected to wreak havoc across the region, possibly toppling trees and leading to potential power outages, according to the weather service.

A high wind warning for higher elevations around the region will take effect between 1 p.m. Wednesday and 3 a.m. Thursday, according to the weather service. Winds could blow between 25 to 35 mph with some gusts peaking as high as 60 mph.

Weather officials have also declared a wind advisory for lower-lying areas near the San Francisco Bay and various valleys around the region. The wind advisory is slated to go into effect at 1 p.m. Wednesday and expire at 3 p.m. Thursday.

Aside from widespread rain and strong winds, Wednesday’s storm could also feature isolated thunderstorms, according to the weather service.

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