SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Strong, gusty winds reaching hurricane-force levels on Mount St. Helena roared through the San Francisco Bay Area Sunday, ripping down trees, damaging homes in Oakland and Sonoma and triggering outages that left thousands without power.
Downed power lines forced the closure of Interstate 880 in both directions just north of Highway 238 for over an hour midday Sunday.
In the Sierra Nevada, a National Weather Service remote sensor located on a chairlift tower at 9,186 feet at the Kirkwood Ski resort recorded a gust of 209 mph at 7:45 a.m.
Once verified, the gust would be the strongest ever recorded in California, topping a reading of 199 mph at Alpine Meadows in Feb 2017.
Kirkwood now gusting 209 MPH! This could potentially be a new California state record wind speed if verified! https://t.co/WeWzntYjLt
— NWS Reno (@NWSReno) February 9, 2020
“Increased wind speeds especially for Sierra ridges,” the weather service warned. “Northeast winds 20 to 30 mph with gusts up to 55 mph. Sierra ridge winds up to 150 mph or more.”
Whitecaps were also whipping up on Lake Tahoe, here is a livecam view from Obexer’s Marina in .
KPIX 5 meteorologist Darren Peck said the winds will increase Sunday afternoon. The National Weather Service has issued a wind advisory for the Bay Area until Monday morning.
— NWS Bay Area (@NWSBayArea) February 9, 2020
The weather service tweeted a chart of the rising winds at Mt. St. Helena in the North Bay. Breezes began kicking up at 8 p.m Saturday night when the gusts were clocked at 25 mph by 11 p.m. they were 58 mph. By 1:10 a.m. Sunday — their last published measurement — gusts had reached 81 mph.
The winds were causing havoc for Bay Area residents. Forecasters said the most notable wind gusts were at Oakland International Airport (53 mph); Fairfield (52 mph); Hayward (49 mph); Livermore (48 mph); Stockton (48 mph); Concord (47 mph); and Vacaville (46 mph).
At the Sofi Fremont apartments a massive tree came crashing down on the parking lot, damaging several cars, Fortunately no one was injured.
Fremont SOFI Apartments; photo by BarryGSC@GSCBarry
According to a photo published by SF Citizen App, winds in downtown San Francisco knocked out a window on the 41th floor of the Millennium Tower. San Francisco Fire officials asked people to stay away from the area and reported no injuries.
Meawhile, a tree toppled across the road near El Camino Del Mar and 34th Ave San Francisco.
Several trees toppled on Skyline Blvd in the Oakland Hills. One crashed into a home near Skyline and Redwood Rd. Fortunately, a woman inside escaped injury but was shaken up.
High winds took down a tree into a house on Skyline Blvd in Oakland. Luckily a woman in the bedroom escaped unharmed but a little shook up. pic.twitter.com/6Phq7mTugo
— BrianKPIX (@brianyuenKPIX) February 9, 2020
Another massive oak tree crashed into a home and crushed two vans and damaged other cars on Riverside Dr. in Sonoma Valley. Two adults and two kids in the house at the time were not injured.
Trees were also blown down on El Camino Real in Belmont, Balboa Drive in Oakland’s Montclair District, on Clarewood at Harbor Drive in Oakland’s upper Rockridge area, all across Alameda as well in Concord, Fremont and rural Santa Rosa.
On KPIX 5’s Facebook Page, residents from all across the Bay Area reported damage at their homes and in their neighborhoods.
“35 mph in Livermore,” Rose Dorkin posted. “My fence started to come down. Hubby is propping it up.”
Lori Johnson-Connery also in Livermore lost her fence — “I’m in Livermore and just lost a section of fence by neighbors tree.”
“It was raining tree branches here in Union City!,” Eden Valenzuela Wenceslao posted.
The gusts were also downing power lines. At the height of the wind storm PG&E officials said nearly 80,000 customers were without power in the Bay Area. Here were the numbers according to locations:
- San Francisco – 210
- Peninsula – 4,936
- North Bay – 4,655
- East Bay – 48,896
- South Bay – 21,005
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