Flash flood watch issued for Northern California

The National Weather Service has issued a flash flood watch for a large portion of Northern California, including the North Coast, saying small stream and creek flooding is possible Friday, and urban flooding likely in Petaluma and elsewhere with the arrival of a fresh storm.

Several inches of rain were expected in the coastal hills before a pause in the weather predicted Friday night, and with the ground already saturated, trouble was expected.

"We're very concerned actually," Petaluma Fire Chief Phil Sutsos said Thursday, shortly after arranging for the city community center to be put into use as an emergency shelter, if needed.

After a respite earlier Thursday, heavy rain was predicted to hit the North Bay by Thursday evening, continuing through much of Friday and dropping 3-to-6 inches of rain on the region.

An even wetter storm was forecast for Saturday night, with total rainfall by Sunday exceeding a foot in the wettest locations - places like Cazadero, Venado and other coastal hill locations that typically receive heaviest rainfall, National Weather Service Meteorologist Diana Henderson said.

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