Most of the Bay Area woke up to rainfall Wednesday morning, marking the beginning of what’s expected to be a ruthless winter storm which had already seen emergency proclamations and multiple hazard warnings with potential flooding and severe winds to come.
A National Weather Service bulletin posted at 4:47 a.m. explained that widespread flooding and damaging winds were expected Wednesday afternoon through Thursday as an atmospheric river moves throughout the region.
A high wind warning went into effect at 4 a.m. Wednesday, citing winds “20 to 30 miles per hour with gusts up to 50 mph in valley locations.” In areas above 1,000 feet in elevation, winds could blow up to 30 to 40 mph with gusts up to 60 mph . Gusts could reach 70 mph along the coast and highest peaks.
Due to already saturated soils, the NWS says, the threat of downed trees and branches increased, potentially leading to power outages as power lines are struck.
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“People should avoid being outside in forested areas and around trees and branches,” the NWS warning read. “If possible, remain in the lower levels of your home during the windstorm, and avoid windows. Use caution if you must drive.”
Rain, while milder in the early morning, was forecast to pick up by the late afternoon and evening. San Jose was predicted to receive up to three-quarters of an inch of rainfall Wednesday, while Oakland expected up to one inch and San Francisco was forecast for between one and two inches. Strong thunderstorms were possibly by Wednesday night, the NWS said.
📡Radar Update 6:30 AM – Widespread rain is falling over the Bay Area for the morning commute. Allow for extra time this morning and use caution on your commute. This is just a preview. ⚠Heavier rain expected later today. #cawx pic.twitter.com/m93OgFJhIr
— NWS Bay Area 🌉 (@NWSBayArea) January 4, 2023
The City of San Jose issued a Proclamation of Local Emergency and Evacuation Order Tuesday night. Signed by City Manager Jennifer Maguire, the proclamation gives the city the emergency powers it needs to respond to storm events, according to a city news release. The evacuation order was directed toward the unhoused population along Coyote, Guadalupe, and Penetencia Creeks.
The City Manager has signed a Proclamation of Local Emergency and Evacuation Order. The Office of Emergency Management will deploy a long range audio device to give announcements in the area of the City’s Central Service Yard. (1/2) pic.twitter.com/LgHi4TQT3B
— City of San José (@CityofSanJose) January 4, 2023
“San Jose is taking this extra precautionary step during this storm surge to protect our residents, particularly our most vulnerable unhoused neighbors,” Mayor Matt Mahan said in a release. “We want to make sure all residents are informed and prepared to stay safe, and that city staff has the ability to move quickly to relocate encampments that are in harm’s way.”
Rachael Davis, a spokesperson for the mayor, says unhoused residents were not being forcefully removed from their sites, but the city was granted the power to do so through the proclamation.