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Storm Front Rolls Through San Francisco Bay Area; Winter Storm Warning In Tahoe

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) -- A storm front brought light showers to the San Francisco Bay Area Friday, dampening Christmas celebrations but packing its major punch for the Sierra where a Winter Storm Warning was in effect for snow and blustery winds.

The National Weather Service said the storm was dumping 1/2 inch or much less over the Bay Area.

"Rainfall totals have not been terribly impressive thus far with about a half inch in the favored locations of Sonoma County," NWS forecasters said. "Lightning detection networks are showing some lightning with this trailing unstable air mass, but it is not expected to reach into the Bay Area. That said, it`s something we`ll be watching over the next several hours."

"The remainder of the Bay Area only has about a tenth to a quarter in the forecast anyway, so we should be on track for these amounts as the front slips through."

Initially, forecasters had fears that intense downpours may trigger the threat of mudslides in the wildfire scarred areas of Wine County, but the storm lost much of it punch by the time it arrived late Friday morning, eliminating any threat.

However, the storm will be creating hazardous driving conditions in the Sierra. The winter storm advisory will be in place until Saturday morning.

"Total snow accumulations of 3 to 8 inches except 1 foot or more above 7000 feet possible," NWS forecasters said. "Exposed Sierra ridge winds could gust to 100 mph or higher. Travel could be very difficult. Peak snowfall rates expected Friday evening into Saturday morning. Hazardous and slow travel across the Sierra expected during this time."

A second storm will roll into Northern California on Sunday night, bringing with it more showers and snowfall. The end of the year storms will begin bringing some relief to the severe drought conditions in the Bay Area.

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