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20-Foot Waves To Wallop Bay Area Coast During 'Storm Of The Decade'

(CBS SF) -- A powerful storm system described by forecasters as the "storm of the decade" is expected to whip up large and dangerous surf along the Bay Area's coastline Thursday through Saturday.

A west-northwest swell generated by a storm system in the Gulf of Alaska is expected to arrive by Tuesday as an area of low pressure develops 400 miles west of San Francisco Wednesday night.

Seas from the developing system will combine with the distant swell and build to 15-18 feet.

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Mavericks at Half Moon Bay is likely to see some of the largest waves reaching as high as 27 feet during high tide. Stinson Beach and Ocean Beach could see 11 to 18-foot waves.  Swells above 20-feet will develop offshore leading to hazardous conditions for mariners.

High tide on Wednesday will be at 2 a.m. and 12:38 a.m., Thursday at 2:40 a.m. and 1:12 p.m., and Friday at 3:19 a.m. and 2:02 p.m.

The Bay Area is also expecting sustained winds, not gusts, at 74 miles per hour in hills above 2500 feet, which will likely lead to widespread power outages and major tree damage throughout the region.  Even lower, flat areas will see gusts above 50 miles per hour. Winds in the mountains will be significantly higher.

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The North Bay and the Santa Cruz Mountains can expect the heaviest rainfall with up to 8 inches of rain likely.

The immediate area surrounding San Francisco Bay can expect 1.5 to 3 inches of rain. Inland areas and the Monterey Bay area can expect 1 to 2 inches of rain, with the Santa Lucia Mountains expecting 2 to 4 inches.


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