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Soggy Northern California weathers third rain storm, awaits a fourth

As storms battered Northern California, homeowners in Truckee were on alert that their city's namesake river threatened to flood. NBC's Miguel Almaguer reports.

Updated at 5 p.m. ET: Heavy rain storms dumping on central and north California Saturday night and Sunday knocked out power to thousands in San Francisco, Sacramento and elsewhere and caused moderate flooding in a number of communities.

The area, which had been saturated by two major weather systems in the last five days, is expected to receive a short reprieve from the rain before another storm comes through on Tuesday evening, The Weather Channel reported.

The inundation has caused a number of mud and rock slides, mostly during the period of heaviest rain, which then moved eastward across Fresno and Merced, Calif.


There were also reports of road flooding during and just after the heaviest rain, but that threat appeared to lessen as the rain moved into regions that haven't had as much recent rain. All flash flood warnings have expired.

The Truckee River, which wends its way from Lake Tahoe in California to Pyramid Lake in Nevada, 120 miles to the northeast, was rising more slowly than expected, and most flood predictions along the way were scaled back.

In Truckee, Calif., the river was expected to cause minor flooding Sunday afternoon and evening and moderate flooding east of Reno near Vista, Nev. as it crests at a predicted 18.7 feet.

The threat of flooding prompted officials in Truckee, a town of about 16,000, to set up an evacuation center. 

Just across the border in Nevada, a state of emergency was declared in Washoe County, including the cities of Reno and Sparks, due to the expected flooding. In Reno, several casinos announced cut-rate rooms to accommodate those displaced, while the City of Sparks opened an evacuation center in a high school.

San Francisco area gets set for third storm system — and flight delays, traffic mess 

Minor flooding was also reported on the Napa River near St. Helena Calif., along the Navarro River near the town of Navarro, and on the Mad River near Arcata. Moderate flooding was still predicted for elsewhere on the Navarro river and parts of the Eel, Russian and Napa rivers.

The Napa River overwhelmed downtown Napa in 2005, flooding or destroying about 1,000 homes and forcing thousands of residents to leave the area.

There, residents worked to fill 700 bags with 10 tons of sand, city official Danny Lerma said. 

Cathleen Allison / AP

Eric Engles, with Carson City Public Works, clears a storm drain in Carson City, Nev, as a heavy, wet storm hits Northern Nevada on Sunday.

"When you see it happen, you always remember, and you say, 'I'm going to be better prepared,'" Lerma told KGO-TV. "And that's what they're doing right now."

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The latest storm, which came ashore Saturday night, knocked out power for about 5,000 customers in the Sacramento. It was restored for all but 2,000 customers by 1 p.m. PT. according to the Sacramento Municipal Utility District. Another 6,000 lost power in Santa Rosa, Sonoma County, and 8,000 in San Francisco, according to The Weather Channel.

The Napa River was expected to flood near St. Helena and Napa around noon on Sunday, while the Russian River was expected to flood near Guerneville early Monday morning. 

The Napa River overwhelmed downtown Napa in 2005, flooding or destroying about 1,000 homes and forcing thousands of residents to leave the area.

The Weather Channel's Chris Warren reports from California where residents are expecting a string of heavy storms.

Holiday cancellations
The weather prompted cancellations of holiday parades and tree lightings in Sparks and Truckee. 

Officials also warned people to be careful along beaches. 

A high surf advisory was issued by the Weather Service, with swells expected to be 14 to 16 feet along the Northern California coast.

In Southern California, high surf was predicted in Los Angeles, Orange and San Diego counties. 

The stormy weather may be behind a crash involving multiple cars on Interstate 280 outside of San Francisco on Saturday morning, as well as the death of a Pacific Gas & Electric worker in West Sacramento who died after his truck crashed into a traffic signal pole during the stormy weather Friday. 

NBC News' Kari Huus and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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