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Drenched California ready for next round

| Monday, Dec. 3, 2012, 9:08 p.m.

SAN FRANCISCO — Northern California residents recovering on Monday from a series of wet, windy storms likely won't get much of a break as another system is expected to drench the area.

Five more inches of rain could fall in the region beginning on Tuesday, the National Weather Service said.

The rain could be especially heavy at times in areas north of Redding and across the Sierra Nevada, meteorologist Dan Keeton said.

Still, it should be nothing like the downpours that left between 15 to 20 inches of rain in some areas over the five-day period that ended on Sunday. Forecasters said the latest storm left the area faster than expected.

“It's going to be significant, but less impactful,” Keeton said of the coming rain. “There will be some isolated impact in certain areas, but nothing as widespread compared to what we saw late last week. This was a down payment on our winter water supply accumulation.”

Pacific Gas & Electric crews continued to work on restoring power to about 8,000 users, a figure that was down from 57,000 on Sunday in areas stretching from Santa Cruz to Eureka and parts of the San Francisco Bay area.

Three powerful storms drenched the region within a week. Sunday's storm dropped as much as an inch of rain an hour in some areas while toppling trees, bringing flash flooding to roadways, and knocking out electrical service.

“I think everybody got nervous last week,” Keeton said. “These storms came with plenty of warnings, but it rained so hard at times that many were still left surprised by what Mother Nature can do.”

Rivers across Northern California swelled from the deluge but did not flood as much as expected. Flood warnings had been issued for the Napa and Russian rivers north of San Francisco, and for the Truckee River near Lake Tahoe.

In Napa, officials had handed out more than 8,000 sandbags and about 150 tons of sand, but the city appeared to avoid major damage.

In Nevada, rescue crews searched for a homeless man in Reno who reportedly fell into the Truckee River from a limb Sunday night.

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