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The Bay Area continued to see the effects of an atmospheric river soaking the region on Tuesday, and it doesn’t stand to let up until the new year comes, authorities and forecasters said.
A flood watch was issued for the greater Bay Area for much of Tuesday, with predictions of 2 to 4 inches of rain for coastal ranges, 2 to 3 inches for interior area, and between 1.5 and 2 inches for the region’s valleys, according to the National Weather Service.
The flood watch declaration took effect at 1 a.m. Tuesday and lasts until at least 6 p.m. A flood advisory, which is less severe, has been issued for more inland areas and lasts until at least 2 p.m.
This storm moved in from Guam and matches the characteristics of a “Pineapple Express,” in which rain and winds — predicted to reach up to 60 mph — will spare the area from freezing, keeping a relatively moderate range spanning temperatures in the low 40s and upper 50s.
A wind bulletin for most of the Bay Area was also issued Tuesday morning after forecasters predicted winds upward of 40 mph.
A special weather statement has been issued for San Francisco CA, Oakland CA and Fremont CA until 8:15 AM PST pic.twitter.com/33zft42fQr
— NWS Bay Area 🌉 (@NWSBayArea) December 27, 2022
The Weather Service said that heavy rain was reported throughout the region Tuesday morning, ranging between 1 and 2 inches overnight, with 1 and 1.5 inches more expected through the morning.
San Jose and the surrounding region, coastal cities in San Mateo and Santa Cruz counties, and San Francisco were expected to see some flooding. Low-lying and poor drainage areas stand to experience the most impact, NWS forecasters wrote in a morning bulletin.
Traffic delays were not widespread early in the Tuesday-morning commute, though that was likely influenced by lower overall commute volume typically seen between Christmas and New Year’s Day.
Heavy snowfall of between 3 and 10 inches was predicted for the Lake Tahoe region, but in areas above 7,000 feet, 1 to 2 feet of snow could be coming. A winter storm warning was in effect through at least 10 a.m. Wednesday, and road travel to the area is expected to see chain controls and delays.
Delays are also expected to continue for air travelers trying to leave and arrive in the Bay Area, with the latest figures from FlightAware showing that more than 2,800 flights across the United States were cancelled as of Tuesday morning. Mineta San Jose International Airport was the only local airport in the national top 10 for cancellations for the day with 154 inbound and outbound flights; Oakland was hovering around 20th with 125.
Those airports’ cancellation figures were largely influenced by Southwest Airlines, which account for virtually all of the nixed flights. Nationally, the carrier had cancelled 2,525 flights Tuesday, or 62% of its total flights for the day.
Airline staffing shortages are also causing massive delays Tuesday, with carriers scrambling to find essential personnel to man flights and avoid additional cancellations.
At the Albuquerque International Sunport, a group of Oakland-bound Southwest passengers were left waiting for hours Tuesday, as airline staff tried to find a first officer to work on their 5:30 a.m flight. When a first officer finally arrived, the passengers waiting at the gate burst into cheers and applause.
“Thank you for your service!” one passenger yelled as the first officer boarded the plane.
Check back later for updates to this story.
Staff writer Scooty Nickerson contributed to this report.
Bay Area braced for flooding, strong winds as storm continues to batter region
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