The Bay Area can expect heavy rain and strong winds that could uproot trees, down power lines and cause flooding and mudslides due to a strong weather system starting late Wednesday and continuing through Thursday, according to the National Weather Service.
The storm is expected to douse Palo Alto with 2 to 3 inches of rain on Thursday, meteorologist Charles Bell said.
Bell cautioned Palo Alto residents of strong winds from 20 to 30 mph, which can cause trees to topple and power to fail
The potent storm system also brings the risk of widespread flooding. Bell warns people who live near creeks to be on alert for flooding if intense rainfall occurs over a short period of time.
The City of Palo Alto has live monitors on the city's creeks (San Francisquito, Matadero and Adobe), which can be viewed at the city's website.
The U.S. Geological Survey also maintains a flow gauge upstream of where San Francisquito Creek crosses Sand Hill Road. The measurements of flow and water surface height is taken every 15 minutes for the past week.
Residents who live in areas that are susceptible to storm flooding can pick up sandbags at Mitchell Park next to the Little League Field and the Rinconada Park tennis courts on Hopkins Avenue at Newell Road. Additionally, sandbags are available at the Palo Alto Airport located adjacent to the Terminal Building.
Should power outages occur, residents can check the city's utilities website for status reports, a city power outage web map and other resources.
"During severe weather, staff will regularly monitor rainfall patterns, water levels in San Francisquito Creek and other local streams, monitor and clear roadways blocked by downed trees or debris, inspect and maintain storm drains and sewers, and plan for other possible contingencies, such as landslides in the Foothills," according to a City of Palo Alto press release.
The North Bay and the Santa Cruz Mountains can expect the heaviest rainfall from the storm -- 3 to 5.5 inches in the North Bay and 2.5 to 5 inches in the mountains.
The immediate area surrounding San Francisco Bay can expect 1.5 to 3 inches of rain.
Weather service officials are predicting the strong winds will begin late Wednesday and last through Thursday night. Winds are expected to reach 20 to 35 mph from the south with gusts of up to 50 mph expected along the coast and mountain ridges.
Overnight low temperatures during the storm will be around 50 degrees.