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Strong Winds Cause Downed Trees, Power Outages All Over Bay Area

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A tree fell and blocked two lanes of Highway 101 in Sunnyvale on November 30, 2011. (CBS)

A tree fell and blocked two lanes of Highway 101 in Sunnyvale on November 30, 2011. (CBS)

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SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — More than 1,500 PG&E customers are without power Wednesday night because of strong winds, a utility spokesman said.

As of 6:30 p.m., the outages were affecting about 350 customers in the North Bay; roughly 900 customers in the East Bay; 470 customers in the South Bay; and about 60 customers in the Peninsula, according to utility spokesman Joe Molica.

A vast majority of the outages were caused by trees and branches falling into power lines, Molica said.

The outages began around 5 p.m. and Molica said more customers may be impacted as high winds continue Wednesday night.

“We’re seeing these winds start to peak,” Molica said.

>>Latest CBS 5 Weather Conditions

Molica said PG&E anticipated the weather-related outages and had increased the amount of workers on duty and staggered their shifts in order to respond to the outages.

“For us, this is an all-hands-on-deck situation,” he said.

The California Highway Patrol issued high-wind advisories for the Bay Area bridges and is asking drivers to use caution Wednesday night.

CHP Officer Ralph Caggiano advised drivers to allow for extra time to get to their destinations and leave additional space between vehicles.

Cal Fire officials said they have increased staffing and fire equipment throughout the state because strong winds significantly increase the wildfire threat.

The National Weather Service has issued a wind advisory for the Bay Area through 6 p.m. Thursday.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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