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California storm ending with a drizzle, not a bang


    Officials say heavy rains and high gusts of wind softened already saturated grounds and caused a landslide in the Oakland hills.

SAN FRANCISCO >> A storm that battered Northern California, endangering homes and leaving thousands in the dark, dumped only a drizzle of rain in the south and was beginning to roll out of state Saturday.

A Pacific Ocean cold front generally dropped an inch of rain or less in the north beginning Friday night. San Francisco got around a fifth of an inch. Southern California generally saw only fractions of an inch.

No significant flooding or other problems were reported.

Showers and isolated thunderstorms were possible through Saturday in the north followed by dry weather. Although another storm could hit Sacramento again on Sunday, it was expected to be weaker and produce only a few showers, the National Weather Service reported.

However, the Sierra Nevada could see some rain and up to 6 inches (15 centimeters) of new snow down to around 4,000 feet with up to 12 inches (30 centimeters) likely near passes, the weather service predicted.

Winds gusting to 45 mph (72 kph) were expected through Saturday night along the Central Coast and southern deserts, canyons and mountains.

Rain began sweeping into the San Francisco Bay Area on Thursday, softening soil already saturated by months of previous storms.

Residents of at least six homes in Oakland were forced to evacuate following a landslide. Nobody was hurt, but three of the endangered homes were red-tagged Friday, meaning they were unsafe to live in.

Diane Henderson told KGO-TV ( ) that mud and water flooded into her house.

“Came down and I guess came through my back bedroom and bathroom and down through the hallway and then all through the patio,” Henderson said. “It’s burst through and started coming down really fast.”

Gusty winds capsized a 112-foot barge in the bay before dawn Friday. Authorities were concerned it might release up to 4,000 gallons (15,141 liters) of fuel and oil, but crews managed to close a leaking fuel vent, the San Francisco Chronicle ( ) reported Saturday.

It was unclear how much diesel fuel leaked. Crews set up a containment boom around the barge.

The shoreline didn’t appear to have been affected, U.S. Coast Guard spokeswoman Sarah Wilson told the paper.

The winds also downed trees and power lines, leaving more than 40,000 Pacific Gas & Electric Co. customers in the Bay Area without power until it was restored Friday.

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