SAN FRANCISCO >> A storm sweeping down the West Coast pelted parts of the San Francisco Bay Area with much-needed rain Friday, triggered flooding that swamped several homes in Washington state and unleashed hurricane-force winds in Nevada.
Up to 10 inches of rain expected this weekend in parts of the drought-stricken California region won’t make a significant dent in the state’s historic drought, but it’s a welcome change after six dry weeks in the Bay Area. For the first time in recorded history, there was no measurable rainfall in downtown San Francisco in January, when winter rains usually come.
It would take 150 percent of the average rainfall for California to recover from the dry period, state water resource officials say. But snow is more important than rain because snowpack supplies about a third of the water needed by residents, agriculture and industry.
About 26 miles west of Seattle, an overflowing river inundated at least a half dozen homes on the Olympic Peninsula. Rescuers went door to door in Brinnon to check homes on a road partially blocked by a mudslide, Jefferson County Emergency Management spokeswoman Keppie Keplinger said.
Three people were rescued from a flooded pickup truck Friday morning, but none was injured, she said.
The threat of landslides will persist into the weekend, and weather officials warn of flooding in several rivers in western Washington. Oregon also saw some flooding to roadways.
In the Sierra Nevada spanning California and Nevada, strong winds snapped massive trees, closed ski resorts around Lake Tahoe and knocked out power to thousands. A 134 mph gust recorded early Friday near the Mount Rose Ski Resort southeast of Reno led the facility and two others to close.
North of San Francisco, businesses in Marin, Napa, Solano, and Sonoma counties stacked sandbags to prepare for possible flash flooding from swollen waterways as rain started falling in the North Bay.
Winds of up to 15 mph were recorded east of the city Friday morning, and the blustery weather knocked down trees and caused power outages, the National Weather Service said. Pacific Gas & Electric reported several thousand outages Friday in the Bay Area.
San Francisco International Airport saw delays of up to 90 minutes and about 175 flights canceled Friday.
The Weather Service issued a heavy rain, high wind gust, and flash flood warning for the region through Monday. The storm is expected to start slowly, push south Friday afternoon and drop rain through Sunday.
The heaviest downpours are forecast in the North Bay, where up to 7 inches of rain is expected to overwhelm waterways and roadway drainage systems, leading to flash flooding.
Urban areas could see up to 4 inches of moisture, while Marin and Sonoma counties could see 10 inches through Sunday, Weather Service lead forecaster Roger Gass said.
Since Dec. 20, rain has been nearly nonexistent across much of California and Nevada, halting hopes for drought improvement.
Plus, California’s second snow survey this winter found the Sierra Nevada snowpack is far below normal after a dry, unusually warm January. A higher snowpack translates to more water for California reservoirs to meet demand in summer and fall.
Water resources managers said heavy rain and cooler temperatures in the next three months would be required for the snowpack to build and give Californians hope for beginning to recover from the drought this year.
Associated Press writers Doug Esser in Seattle and Scott Sonner in Reno contributed to this report.