Crews in Northern California cleared storm drains and residents loaded up on sandbags Wednesday ahead of a powerful storm bearing down.

The storm was expected to pack hurricane-force winds capable of toppling trees and power lines and heavy rains that could cause streams and rivers to flood.

As much as eight inches of rain could fall on coastal mountains within 24 hours starting late Wednesday, the National Weather Service said. Ski resorts in the northern Sierra Nevada could get more than two feet of snow.

The storm is expected to be one of the windiest and rainiest in five years and could cause debris slides, especially in areas affected by this year's intense and widespread wildfires. Wind gusts of up to 70 m.p.h. were expected on mountaintops, creating possible blizzard conditions in the Sierra. - AP