Road closures, flooding and power outages greeted commuters, as expected, Wednesday morning, and it was just the beginning of the storms expected to wallop the Bay Area this week.
Up to an inch of rain fell in parts of the region, which led to closures of roadways in Palo Alto and highway ramps in Marin County. In San Francisco, Great Highway was shut down in both directions by noon because of flooding, but otherwise no major flooding was reported in The City.
“So far, so good,” said Department of Public Works spokeswoman Rachel Gordon. “But we are still expecting, later in the week, more strong winds and rain.”
The strong winds, which the National Weather Service said reached 70 mph in some areas, toppled trees at Junipero Serra Boulevard and Estero Avenue and blocked morning traffic. A branch at 36th Avenue and Lincoln Way fell onto an empty car, Gordon said.
The wind knocked out power to nearly 2,000 customers in the Bay Area, according to PG&E. As many as 300 people in San Francisco lost power by midmorning. It was restored to most customers by the end of the day.
The storm was the first in a series expected to hit the Bay Area this week.
According to weather service forecaster Bob Benjamin, it was smaller than the others that should come through the area late Thursday night and stick around until Sunday afternoon.
“It was a fairly fast-moving, potent little storm,” he said. “The next one will probably have greater precipitation.”
Benjamin said 0.38 inches of rain fell in downtown San Francisco on Wednesday morning, but that total is likely to be closer to an inch by Friday morning. That rain will likely snarl the morning commute.
Another storm is expected to arrive Saturday night into Sunday afternoon, bringing another inch of rain, Benjamin said. Winds will not hit the 70 mph gusts felt Wednesday, but they will be “notable,” he said, and drivers can expect wind advisories on bridges.
Weather and wind also delayed flights to and from San Francisco International Airport on Wednesday. By midday, some 75 had been canceled and others were delayed up to 2½ hours. Passengers are encouraged to check their flight status before heading to the airport over the next few days.