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Monster rainstorms could bring flooding and huge waves in Northern California

Monster rainstorms could bring flooding and huge waves in Northern California
A man carries an umbrella while walking along a road in San Francisco on Friday. (Associated Press)

A second storm fueled in part by a typhoon hit California's border with Oregon on Saturday with heavy rain and gusty winds as it made its way south.

After an overnight lull, rain returned to Eureka and nearby cities, where winds at 40 mph and gusts up to 70 mph were recorded in the highest points.

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Officials in Del Norte and Humboldt counties provided sand and sandbags for residents to protect against flooding, and the Coast Guard warned of swells up to 25 feet and urged people to avoid low-lying beaches and other coastal areas.

Farther south in the San Francisco Bay Area, residents cleaned gutters and cleared trees ahead of the storm that is expected to arrive Saturday evening.

Especially vulnerable are fire-damaged areas, in which the land is at risk of erosion.

Patty Eaton, a spokeswoman for the Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority, said a massive wildfire that was fully controlled Wednesday left 1,500 acres of stumps and dead trees. But she said there was no time to do erosion control work and this could lead to problems of clogged pipes.

"One of the water district guys said it could be like a marble rolling off glass," she told the San Jose Mercury News. "There are carcasses of animals. It's all burned out, hillside after hillside."

A storm enhanced by the remains of a typhoon brought the moist air to Northern California.

It followed a potent weather system that walloped Northern California on Friday, knocking out power, flooding roads and delaying flights.

"These storms have been enhanced by the moisture of the typhoon," said National Weather Service meteorologist Matthew Kidwell, referring to Typhoon Songda, which wreaked havoc in the western Pacific days ago.

The first storm dumped between 1 and 4 inches of rain in Del Norte and Humboldt counties' lower areas and up to 7 inches in the highest peaks. In Eureka, where rainfall last October was 2.4 inches, has received 2.3 inches of rain this month, Kidwell said.

It's too early to tell whether California, now on a six-year drought, will see a wet winter.

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