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Weak Atmospheric River Gives Some Relief To Drought Stricken North Bay

SAN RAFAEL (CBS SF) -- A weak atmospheric river rolled through the San Francisco Bay Area early Tuesday, dumping more than 2 inches of rain in the Marin County community Kentfield, nestled in the shadow of Mt. Tamalpais, but giving little relief to the drought stricken South Bay.

Rainfall totals over the last 24 hours depended entirely on what zip code you lived in.

The National Weather Service said as of 5 a.m., 2.21 inches had fallen in Kentfield, 1.57 inches in Santa Rosa and 1.66 inches in Mill Valley.

But as you traveled farther south, the totals dropped considerably.

At San Jose International only light rain had fallen, accounting for 0.02 of an inch over the 24 hour period ending at 5 a.m. In Redwood City, 0.19 inches had fallen and 0.10 inches fell in Fremont.

In the normally wet Santa Cruz Mountains, the plume of moisture had dropped 1.32 inches in Ben Lomond and 1.45 inches on the San Mateo coast community of Davenport.

"When all said and done, this storm system may have underperformed with respect to storm total rainfall across portions of the Bay Area," the weather service said in its early morning forecast discussion.

It was a much different outcome than the potent Category 5 atmospheric river that slammed into the Bay Area in late October that flooded neighborhoods, triggered thousands of power outages and toppled dozens of trees.

Still the region welcomed any relief it could get from the extreme to exceptional drought conditions that have gripped Northern California for months.

And the storm will linger through the morning.

"The atmospheric column remains saturated at this time with lingering showers through the morning potentially making up for the slower onset of precipitation last evening," the weather service said early Tuesday. "Gusty southerly winds in excess of 45 mph earlier this morning have begun to diminish."

A wind advisory remained in effect for the local bridges across the Bay during the early hours of morning commute. The winds combined with slick roadways to make for treacherous driving conditions especially in the North Bay.

Ponding or minor flooding was reported on several roadways including eastbound I-580 near Oakland Ave. and near th Geneva Ave. exit in I-280 in San Francisco.

A downed tree was blocking Happy Valley Road in Orinda between Sundown Terrace and White Pine Lane, on Moraga Road between St. Mary's Road to Sky Highway.

Another downed tree on Highway 1 between Point Reyes-Petaluma Road and Mesa Road also took down wires, forcing the closure of the highway in both directions.

The Twitter account initially projected that the tree would be removed and the road reopened by around 1 p.m. They later updated the situation, saying at around 1:50 p.m. that one-way traffic controls were in effect and that the full reopening had been pushed back to 8 p.m.

Drivers through that area should anticipate delays.

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