BART Barge Sinks In Fierce Bay Area Storm; Downed Tree Injures Woman

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – A fierce spring storm ripped through the Bay Area early Friday with howling winds, heavy surf and intense downpours that led to a BART barge sinking in the San Francisco Bay and a tree toppling into a Benicia home, injuring woman.

PG&E said that during the height of the storm more than 114,000 customers had their power knocked out.

The hardest hit area was the East Bay where more than 82,000 customers were without power.

Winds raise havoc across the Bay Area as Los Gatos reported an 83 mph gust, Mt. Diablo a 76 mph gust, the Los Altos hills 72 mph and the Oakland Airport 62 mph.

The winds toppled trees and ripped off branches across the Bay Area. In Benicia, a woman was hospitalized after a tree fell on her home.

She suffered a head injury, but was expected to survive. Another person inside home was not injured.

Officials said the home’s roof and interior were heavily damaged.

The winds also combined with wet roadways to create treacherous driving condition.

All westbound lanes of the Bay Bridge were closed for several hours Thursday night after a big rig toppled over in the strong winds east of Treasure Island.

The incident was first reported at 8:24 p.m., according to the California Highway Patrol. The big rig landed on its side, blocking all westbound lanes. No other vehicles were involved.

Meanwhile, BART Officials said a barge with a crane on it that was under contract with the transit agency sunk in the San Francisco Bay somewhere between Treasure Island and the Transbay Tube at 12:22 a.m.

Fortunately, there was no one on board at the time the vessel sunk.

BART said its engineers had inspected the Transbay Tube and no damage was found. The agency was working with the Coast Guard to recover the barge.

Across the region, the storm dumped inches of rain. Vernado in Sonoma County received 4.49 inches of rain over the last 24 hours.

San Rafael had 2.59 inches, Kentfield 3.34 inches, Santa Rosa 2.51, Ben Lomond in the Santa Cruz Mountains 2.67 and Mt. Diablo 1.40 inches.

The intense showers also triggered a hillside in the Oakland, sending water, mud and debris toward a neighborhood where six homes were forced to be evacuated.

The slide also wiped out Aitken Dr,, sending a portion of the roadway tumbling into a ravine.

Oakland Fire said it received a call reporting the massive slide in the 6700 block of Banning Dr. in the Oakland Hills just before 6 p.m.

While there were no reports of injuries or damage to the homes, officials said evacuations were still necessary due to the instability of the hillside.

Oakland fire Battalion Chief Dino Torres told the East Bay Times that the slide threatened two homes and forced four homes to be evacuated as a precaution.

The collapse of Aitken Drive also cut off water to 25 homes.

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