Three storm systems forecast for Thursday through Monday could drop up to eight inches of rain in the North Bay mountains and lesser amounts across the rest of the Bay Area, National Weather Service forecasters said.
High winds of 15 to 25 mph with gusts up to 35 mph are also forecast, which will make driving difficult, especially for taller vehicles. The wind may cause fallen trees and power outages, according to the weather service.
In Palo Alto, winds of 8 to 17 mph, with gusts as high as 23 mph are forecast on Friday.
It's "going to be a little on the breezy side," weather service forecaster Diana Henderson said.
The rain will mean slick roads and longer commute times.
Weather service officials said the rain will start falling Thursday and continue into Friday, with a lull late Friday and Saturday morning. On Saturday afternoon, the rain is forecast to start again and persist through Monday.
Rain totals in the valleys and urban areas will be less than in the mountains. Forecasters are predicting 3.05 inches for San Francisco over the five-day period, 1.72 inches for San Jose and 6.72 inches for Santa Rosa, according to the weather service.
Creeks and streams are expected to rise as the ground is saturated from recent storms, according to meteorologist Holly Osborne with the weather service's California Nevada River Forecast Center.
No other major rivers in the Bay Area are forecast to possibly reach flood stage during the five-day period, Osborne said.
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 San Francisquito Creek Joint Powers Authority also debuted a new website at sfcjpa.org/floodwarning, which displays a color-coded map showing the likelihood of flooding at key points along the creek and in specific neighborhoods.
Palo Alto residents can pick up free sandbags at several locations in the city, according to city officials.
Sandbags are available at Mitchell Park, 600 East Meadow Drive, Rinconada Tennis Courts, 777 Embarcadero Road, and Palo Alto Airport, 1925 Embarcadero Road.
There is no limit on the number of sandbags that can be taken to a single residence, but there is a limit on how many bags per vehicle trip (10 per passenger vehicle and 20 per commercial vehicle).
For a map of sandbag locations, click here.
For more storm information, visit cityofpaloalto.org/storms.