Wild storm soaks California, thousands lose power

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SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Northern California could use the rain it's getting today -- but the high winds aren't as welcome. They've knocked out power to hundreds of thousands.

Throughout the San Francisco Bay area, waves are slamming into waterfronts, ferries are tied to their docks, and many schools have canceled classes.

On the Golden Gate Bridge, drivers are tightly gripping their steering wheels, and a buffer zone has been created to prevent head-on collisions between swerving cars.

Pacific Gas & Electric reported more than 80,000 outages due to a single flooded substation in San Francisco, but blackouts were much more widespread, with more than 225,000 homes and businesses without power. The utility's online map showed lights out over thousands of square miles, from Humboldt near the Oregon border to Big Sur on the Central Coast.

Many flights at San Francisco International Airport have been delayed or canceled.

In California's agricultural heartland, farmers need this good dousing — and many more — to make up for a severe drought caused by three consecutive dry years.

%@AP Links

219-a-10-(Ernest Sanchez, spokesman, San Francisco Bay Ferry, in AP interview)-"and so forth"-Ernest Sanchez of the San Francisco Bay Ferry says about 2,000 regullar ferry passengers would have had to use alternative transportation, but many probably just stayed home. (11 Dec 2014)

<<CUT *219 (12/11/14)££ 00:10 "and so forth"

201-c-21-(Martha Mendoza, AP correspondent)-"ground becomes saturated"-AP correspondent Martha Mendoza reports heavy rain and strong winds are causing a variety of problems in the San Francisco Bay. (11 Dec 2014)

<<CUT *201 (12/11/14)££ 00:21 "ground becomes saturated"

APPHOTO CANB101: A van navigates a flooded roadway in Berkeley, Calif., on Thursday, Dec. 11, 2014. A powerful storm churned through Northern California Thursday, knocking out power to tens of thousands and delaying commuters while soaking the region with much-needed rain. (AP Photo/Noah Berger) (11 Dec 2014)

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