NEWS Thursday’s storm causes power outages, traffic accidents in San Mateo County | local news

Thursday's storm causes power outages, traffic accidents in San Mateo County | local news

An inch of rain fell in San Mateo County Thursday. Another storm system is expected to hit the peninsula over the weekend.

A northwesterly storm system swept across the county early Thursday morning with just over an inch of rain, with more rain expected over the weekend.

National Weather Service meteorologist Sean Miller said there was still a chance of light rain Friday night and into Sunday.

Thursday night saw the coldest temperatures of the season in the county. Lows are expected to be in the 30s and then temperatures should level off for the rest of the weekend as cloudiness and rain will help keep temperatures in the 40s to 50s.

“Make sure people, plants, pets and pipes are protected from the cold,” Miller said, which means checking neighbors and family members, covering up frost-prone plants, making sure pets don’t spend the night outside, and looking out for exposed or damaged pipes.

While the rain bodes well for easing the drought, Miller said the county and California will need more rain this winter to ease the drought.

“Any rain helps, and it’s a great start,” Miller said.

Around 11 a.m. Thursday, 1,743 Bay Area PG&E customers experienced power outages, of which 912 were county residents. PG&E spokeswoman Mayra Tostado said power was restored within four hours.

However, Tostado warned county residents to stay away from downed power lines or damaged electrical equipment as winds and another storm system moved toward the county over the weekend. If anyone does see a damaged or dropped line, please call 911 and PG&E immediately.

She issued some reminders to residents not to use candles during the outage because they are a fire hazard. Don’t try to heat your home with an oven or gas stove top as they release carbon monoxide and can be fatal. If residents use a generator, Tostado recommends having it inspected by a qualified electrician to make sure it is working properly. She said never leave it in the garage or at home. Keep them in a well-ventilated place. She also recommends charging mobile phones when power is available to stay connected in an emergency, and it’s important to have an emergency kit with medication, water and essentials in case residents need to leave their homes.

Cal Highway Patrol spokesman Sergeant Art Montiel reported 27 crashes in the county without injuries, most of which were caused by driving too fast, skidding or losing traction in the rain.

“Slow down when driving, there’s a lot of oil on the roads after the first rain like this and it can be slippery,” Montiel said.

He added that it was safest to drive in the center lane and stay away from standing water as it was difficult to tell how deep it was. In the event of a car skidding, Montiel recommends not panic, don’t slam on the brakes, let off the accelerator, and if the car behind is skidding, turn the drive wheels in the same direction as the skid until the car gains traction.

“Be careful when driving in the rain, take your time, make sure your headlights are on and allow extra driving time and don’t rush,” Montiel said.

For residents planning a trip to the Sierra Nevada this weekend, Weather Bureau meteorologist Michelle Nead said the region received heavy snowfall at about 3 inches an hour for most of Thursday morning .

“It’s snowing hard, maybe 2 feet, and I’m estimating another 2 feet over the weekend,” Nead said.

If you must go up the hill, Sacramento NWS spokeswoman Imamis Del Valle-Shoemaker previously said she strongly discourages driving up the hill from Thursday to Sunday. Residents should ensure that all general vehicle maintenance is up to date.

Travelers should visit the Caltrans website at for the latest information on road conditions and closures.

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