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Wintry Spring Storm Hits Northern California

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS13/AP) – Heavy rains softened already saturated grounds and caused a landslide in the Oakland hills and high gusts of wind left thousands without power in the San Francisco Bay Area Friday morning.

Gusts up to 48 mph (77 kph) ripped across San Francisco, while blasts up to 62 mph (100 kph) hit the Oakland area, National Weather Service meteorologist Anna Schneider said Friday.

RELATED: Gov. Brown Officially Lifts Drought Emergency Proclamation

The National Weather Service had forecast wind gusts up to 50 mph (80 kph) for the Sacramento area, but the big bursts of wind topped out at around 30 mph (48 kph).

In Oakland, residents in at least six homes were forced to evacuate Thursday night following a landslide. Crews were evaluating the situation Friday.

There were no reports of injuries or damage to the homes. However, officials say evacuations were necessary due to the instability of the hillside. There were also reports of several downed trees in the area.

More than 40,000 Pacific Gas & Electric Co. customers in the San Francisco Bay Area were without power Friday morning due to strong winds and heavy rain Thursday night and early Friday.

Showers crossing the upper half of the state ramped up to rain late Thursday as the cold front approached, with moderate rain reaching the San Francisco Bay Area on Friday. San Francisco saw about an inch (25 millimeters) of rain overnight while Oakland logged a little more.

Scattered showers will continue through Saturday afternoon when things will dry out until another small system hits on Wednesday, Schneider said.

Forecasters warned of significant travel disruptions Friday in the Sierra passes, around the town of Mammoth Lakes and along U.S. 395.

“Avoid travel if possible, you could be stuck in your vehicle for many hours,” the weather service bluntly warned.

Forecasters upgraded a winter storm watch to a warning for heavy, wet snow, effective from midnight Thursday to 5 a.m. Saturday along the eastern Sierra, west of U.S. 395.

All rivers in the region were expected to rise, but the flooding is only predicted at Portola on the middle fork of the Feather River.

Accompanying strong winds could make driving difficult and topple trees and power lines, the weather service said.

Advisories for small watercraft and gale warnings were in effect along about a third of the California coast.

Rain also was expected to spread south down the Central Coast, possibly as far as Los Angeles County.

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press.

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