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'Pineapple Express' Brings Winds, Rain To Northern California

Power outages, canceled ferry services, flight delays: Those are some of the effects of one of the windiest and rainiest storms in recent years to make their way across Northern California.

The National Weather Service issued flood warnings along the West Coast. Some parts of Northern California could get up to 8 inches of rain. Blizzardlike conditions and whiteouts are expected farther inland and at higher elevations. Here is what else residents can expect: flash floods, high winds and big waves.

Public schools in several cities in the Bay Area were closed.

KCBS reported that the "Napa, Russian, Navarro and Sacramento Rivers are forecast to peak above flood stage late Thursday or early Friday, adding up to 32 feet of water to their nearly dry banks as torrential rain reaches the watershed."

But as Jeff Masters, co-founder of the Weather Underground website, noted, "The heavy rains will put a noticeable dent in the state's three-year drought."

The storm is being fueled by what's known as a Pineapple Express. That, as we pointed out in 2010, is, in the words of the National Weather Service, "a humorous yet memorable phrase that is used to describe weather systems that have their moisture source in the tropics. For us, the source is close to Hawaii, which has a lot of pineapples!"

Our friends over at KQED are live blogging the storm. You can find that coverage here.

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