Bay Area residents delighted by stormy weather

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- A storm is bringing dangerous driving conditions around the Bay Area. The system will bring waves of thunderstorms and hail to the region throughout the day.

In the upper North Bay, a Flash Flood Watch continues in Solano and Yolo Counties until 9 p.m. Monday.

One of the biggest traffic trouble spots earlier this morning was on the the Bay Bridge, where two Sig Alerts on westbound Interstate 80 at 7th Street and westbound Interstate 80 at Highway 101 blocked lanes.

The storm caused power outages in parts of the Bay Area. At least 350 PG&E customers lost power in Cupertino and San Jose. At one point, Santa Cruz had at least 4,000 people without power, but despite the inconveniences most people are happy that it's raining.

PHOTOS: Storm brings rain, lightning, hail to Bay Area

Most people saw this storm coming, so they were ready with rain coats and umbrellas in Saratoga.

Gardner Keith Mcnulty prepared ahead of time to make sure the water had somewhere to go. "We cleaned all the storm drains out. We get all the gutters flowing, leaves, everything clean so water goes basically downhill," he said.

STORMWATCH: Track the rain with Live Doppler 7 HD radar

Thunder rolled through Santa Clara and Santa Cruz County with consistent rain hitting the ground.

During this record drought, some would say Monday's wet weather is a gift. "I turn 54 today, so I'm going to enjoy the rest of my day," San Jose resident Marlon Davis said. When asked if he's going to enjoy the day even if it's cold and rainy, Davis said: "Yes, rain don't stop nothing, just a beautiful day in San Jose."

The heavy rain had an impact on people in a lot of different ways throughout the Bay Area.

In the North Bay, the storm was strong with heavy sheets of rain during the morning commute along with some lightening. "Love this weather, this it is my favorite weather," one woman said.

But the rain exposed some problems the drought has created. At Katina Blasingane's house, the rain falling where her lawn used to be created a muddy mess, so her first stop was Armstrong Garden Center. "We don't want the dirt to come in the house, so I came to see if they had any bark chips or pebbles or ideas to put on the lawn," one woman said.

"This is awesome, we really love the rain," one man said.

Armstrong Garden Center employees were also happy to see the rain. This storm means they can hold off on watering all the plants for about a week. They are also happy to see customers pointing out a wet Fall is a great time to plant for Spring. "This year has been very difficult, but having the rain come in it's going to make business happen again. It's really good news," Armstrong Garden Center employee Eugene Rougeau said.

Business was busy across the street at O'Reiily Auto Parts where windshield wipers were frantically being installed for those who were caught off guard, but employees say a lot of people saw this coming. "People were actually jumping ahead of curve ball, which we actually started seeing it back on Thursday and with everybody planning ahead we're getting the stragglers towards the end," O' Reilly Auto Parts employee Walter Shank said.

The rain hit right during the morning commute, so southbound Highway 101 was definitely at a crawl, but Californians are not complaining after the long dry summer. "Love it, got to love the rain," Shank said.

The National Weather Service says the low-pressure system from the Gulf of Alaska is expected to drop up to of an inch of rain in the low elevations. Snow levels will begin around 4,000 feet and it's possible for Mt. Diablo and Hamilton to get a dusting of snow.

If you're headed to the Sierra, chains or snow tires are required on most mountain highways around Lake Tahoe. Up to 18 inches of snow are in the forecast at the highest peaks in the Sierra through Monday night.

Temperatures in the San Francisco Bay Area and Central California are expected to dip to the 40s. Rain is also anticipated along the Central Coast and in Southern California.

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The Associated Press has contributed to this story.
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