Winds were picking up around the North Bay on Wednesday morning as a much anticipated series of rainstorms hit Northern California, dropping nearly three-quarters of an inch of rain in Cloverdale by 8 a.m. and sending motorists sliding every which way as the commute hour got under way.
Highway 121 near Sonoma bore the brunt of the vehicle crash action Wednesday morning, with five accidents reported between about 5:30 a.m. and 7:30 a.m., all of them apparently non-injury, the CHP said. A bakery delivery truck and a fire truck were among those involved the collisions, authorities said.
There were also "A lot of solo spinouts - people just driving too fast, unfortunately," CHP Officer Jack Ramos said.
A four-car collision also was reported on southbound Highway 101 in northern Santa Rosa shortly before 8 a.m., leaving wreckage across the roadway, though there were no reports of injuries.
On northbound 101 on the Cotati Grade, a car spun off the road around 7:30 a.m.
"You have to really adjust yourself for what's going on," CHP Officer Steve Fricke said. "I mean the roadways are wet, and the faster you go the easier it's going to be for you to spinout. So we really have got reduce our speeds and watch that following distance."
PG&E reported outages for about 200 customers in the region, though no additional details were immediately available.
Emergency dispatchers said a few trees were down around the area, as well.
Wednesday's rain, though moderate inland, was heaviest along the coast and the coastal hills, where rainfall totals through Sunday could surpass a foot, National Weather Service meteorologist Diana Henderson said.
Rainfall on the Santa Rosa Plain over the next five days could be closer to five or six inches, she said.
"It's going to come in spurts, but there is a lot of moisture out there, so it's just the beginning stages," Henderson said.