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Winter Storm Batters Northern California, Highway 80 Shut Down At Donner Summit

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) -- A winter storm front roared into Northern California Sunday, dumping more than 3 inches of rain in Marin County, triggering flooding along San Francisco's Great Highway and blizzard conditions in the Sierra Nevada.

The National Weather Service issued a flood advisory Sunday afternoon for southeastern Marin County. Forecasters said the storm had dumped 3.32 inches of rain in San Rafael by 4:30 p.m. while 3.86 inches fell in Kentfield.

The NWS also posted a flood advisory for southeastern Sonoma County, advising motorists to not drive through flooded roadways.

Elsewhere, Oakland received 1.28 inches, San Francisco 1.08 inches, Napa 2.36 inches, Mt Diablo 1.3 inches and Ben Lomond in the Santa Cruz Mountains got 3.36 inches.

The California Highway Patrol had its hands hands full, responding to accidents everywhere. Fortunately, most were fender-benders where no one was hurt.

Some folks who stayed off the freeways still had to get out in the weather. At first, the rain was normal and seemed only an annoyance.

"Not a good day for this.", one shopper said.

"It's just raining, I'm happy, I'm alright." another told KPIX 5.

On Grizzly Peak Blvd. in the Berkeley Hills, gusts of 45-to-50 mph howled. Erin Nelson and her friend Jesse came up to experience the heavy wind.

"We have a broken umbrella but, we have high spirits so, we're doing good!" said Nelson.

Gusty winds toppled trees, tore off tree branches and brought down power lines around the Bay Area.

In the Sierra, the storm triggered near white-blizzard conditions. Traffic was halted on I-80 near Donner Summit Sunday evening. The CHP reported a traffic backup for several miles.

The Sierra Avalanche Center issued a backcountry avalanche warning for the Lake Tahoe area stretching south into the Sierra along the California-Nevada line from noon Sunday until 7 a.m. Monday.

The National Weather Service said blizzard conditions with gale-force winds could trigger widespread avalanche activity.

Two feet of snow was reported at Mammoth Mountain 150 miles south of Tahoe. More than a foot fell in the upper elevations around Tahoe, including 19 inches at Squaw Valley.

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