3rd major storm moving into Northern California

John S. Marshall and Terry Collins / The Associated Press /

Published Dec 2, 2012 at 04:00AM

SAN FRANCISCO — Another major storm moving into Northern California was expected to bring more pouring rain, flooding and additional problems to an area already soaked after two major storms, forecasters said Saturday.

Residents of Northern California enjoyed just a bit of a respite, but the next storm — the third in a string of powerful weather systems to hit the region since Wednesday — is expected to force several rivers over their banks after it arrives Saturday evening, National Weather Service forecasters said.

With rivers and streams already running high and the ground saturated from the previous storms, the National Weather Service issued flood warnings early Saturday for both the Napa and Russian rivers, two rivers north of San Francisco with a history of flooding, National Weather Service hydrologist Mark Strudley said.

“Some roads will become inundated and some of the agricultural areas will take on some water,” Strudley said.

The Napa River is expected to flood near St. Helena and Napa around noon today, while the Russian River was expected to flood near Guerneville early Monday morning, Strudley said.

The Napa River overwhelmed downtown Napa in 2005, flooding or destroying about 1,000 homes and forcing thousands of residents to leave the area.

With that in mind, residents worked to fill 700 bags with 10 tons of sand Saturday morning, city official Danny Lerma said.

“When you see it happen, you always remember, and you say, ‘I’m going to be better prepared,’” Lerma told KGO-TV. “And that’s what they’re doing right now.”

Forecasters also issued flood warnings for the Truckee River near Lake Tahoe and the Susan River in Lassen County, as well as the Eel, Navarro and Van Duzen rivers in far Northern California.

A flash flood watch was also in effect for a wide area of Northern California through tonight.

At the peak of Friday’s storm, thousands of people were without power, but by Saturday Pacific Gas & Electric was reporting only scattered outages, spokesman J.D. Guidi said.

The utility had extra crews standing by in anticipation of new outages caused by falling branches and strong winds, Guidi said.

The stormy weather may be behind a crash that involved several cars on Interstate 280 outside of San Francisco on Saturday morning, as well as the death of a Pacific Gas & Electric worker in West Sacramento who was killed after his truck crashed into a traffic signal pole during the stormy weather Friday.

Elsewhere in the West, a state of emergency was declared in Reno, Sparks and Washoe County in Nevada due to expected flooding.

Also, a storm rushed through Southern Oregon last week, lingering inland over the Rogue Valley and dropping record rainfall. Forecasters said the region should expect more storms over the next few days.

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