Storms expected to break this weekend 

After winds and rain whipped and stung the Bay Area over the past week, locals could begin to see sunlight at the end of the tunnel this weekend.

There was some chance of on-and-off rain today, but no strong winds associated with the small system, according to the National Weather Service. Heading into the weekend, local San Francisco weather would "definitely be drying out" with partly cloudy skies Saturday morning and sunny skies late Saturday continuing to the middle of next week, said Brian Tentinger, a forecaster with the National Weather Service.

Since last Thursday, strong winds and rains have downed power lines and trees as well as flooded streets. Thousands of residents and businesses in The City and around the Bay Area suffered power outages with many in the dark for days.

Despite the enormous amounts of rain the storm systems brought to the area, the clouds dumped even more precipitation near Lake Tahoe. A dry November and early part of December had left many ski resorts struggling to open all of their terrain.

Shelly Chernicki, a California Department of Transportation spokeswoman, said Donner Summit along Interstate 80 received 139 inches of snow between Jan. 3-7, but both I-80 and Highway 50 are currently open to drivers with no chain-control restrictions, she added.

She said another weather system could bring another 4 inches to6 inches of snow to Donner Summit, but as for commuters trying to trek up to the mountains Thursday or Friday, she expected I-80 and Highway 50 to remain clear for travelers.

Tentinger said the commute to the Lake Tahoe area Thursday could be troubled by a chance of mixed precipitation that could linger into early Friday. California Motor Vehicle Code requires drivers to carry chains if they are headed to the mountains between November and April, Chernicki said.

dsmith@examiner.com

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