WALNUT CREEK, Calif. (KGO) --Heavy rains made their way across the Bay Area and fresh snow blanketed the Sierra Nevada as the first of several powerful storms slammed Northern California on Saturday, ending a dry spell and raising hopes the drought-stricken state can get much needed precipitation.
Residents are evacuating low lying areas along Soquel Creek in Santa Cruz County because of rising waters.
An evacuation center has been set up at Jade Street Park in Capitola.
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Santa Cruz County is evacuating residents along the upper San Lorenzo River at Felton Grove and Paradise Park. Fooding there is imminent.
Wind gusts around the Bay Area reached as high as 80 miles per hour in some parts, though the average winds were around 40 miles an hour.
Meanwhile, power has been restored this evening to thousands of customers in the Monterey Bay area, a PG&E spokeswoman said.
The outage involving about 6,000 customers was reported at about 4:30 p.m. and crews restored power within 80 minutes, spokeswoman Hailey Wilson said.
What's left is a smattering of outages, Wilson said.
Across the San Francisco Bay and Monterey Bay areas today, 53,197 customers have lost power. As of 11 p.m. on Saturday, 16,000 are still without power.
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The storm slammed into the East Bay, toppling over trees, knocking out power and causing poor driving conditions.
In Walnut Creek, a 40 foot eucalyptus tree fell across two lanes of traffic on Treat Boulevard.
The driver of an SUV tried to avoid it, but couldn't
"When they slowed and turned, they hit the tree and then struck from behind by a separate vehicle," said Jason Taylor with the CHP.
In Orinda, the wind and heavy rain brought down a massive tree on Lost Valley Drive.
The tree took out power lines, leaving nearly 80 families in the dark. But the homeowners in the Lost Valley Association are prepared.
They're communicating through walkie talkies and getting updates from one another.
With the tree blocking the only road out of the neighborhood, getting information would otherwise be nearly impossible.
"We don't have power at all, have candles all over and a fire going to staying warm," said one resident.
PG&E called in extra crews to work on the downed lines.
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