SANTA ROSA (CBS SF) — Hurricane-force winds ripped through Sonoma County for more than three hours early Tuesday with gusts of 90 mph or higher in the Mayacamas Mountains, toppling trees and power lines and sparking a small wildfire near Geyserville.
Across the Bay Area, thousands woke up Tuesday morning in darkened homes. As of 4 p.m., 51,681 Bay Area customers were experiencing wind-related outages. The South Bay is the most impacted, with nearly 38,000 customers affected (12,098 in Santa Clara County and 25,885 in Santa Cruz County).READ MORE: Bay Area Health Expert Hails Potential of Single-Shot COVID-19 Vaccine in Pandemic Battle
There was an additional 8,783 customers were impacted in the East Bay (7,194 in Alameda County and 1,589 in Contra Costa County) as well as nearly 4,000 in San Mateo County. There were minor outages in San Francisco, Marin, Sonoma and Solano counties.
The outages in the Bay Area are due to high winds, not public safety power shutoffs (PSPS).
The East Bay Regional Parks District shut down all ridgeline parks on Tuesday due to the high winds.
Due to high winds, ridgeline parks from Wildcat Canyon to Lake Chabot are closed until 8:00 AM on Wed. 1/20/21. Extreme weather/wind park closures List: https://t.co/sATah8K6vB pic.twitter.com/LblLXm2qjQ
— East Bay Regional Parks (@EBRPD) January 19, 2021
The strong winds also forced the National Park Service to shutdown access to Yosemite National Park for the day, but park officials later announced it would likely remain closed until Friday.
A post on the official Yosemite Twitter account noted that park would be conducting damage assessments, repairing facilities and clearing trees the rest of the week.
“While some facilities have been damaged, no injuries have been reported as a result of the high winds in the park,” the post said..
Yosemite will likely remain closed until Friday morning as the park conducts damage assessments, repairs facilities, and clears trees. While some facilities have been damaged, no injuries have been reported as a result of the high winds in the park.
📷 by Lindsay Stevenson pic.twitter.com/o6MToab9z1
— Yosemite National Park (@YosemiteNPS) January 20, 2021
The San Francisco Bay Area was under a High Wind Warning until 10 a.m. The National Weather Service reported gusts of 95 mph in the Sonoma hills, 82 mph near Middletown, 74 mph in the Healdsburg hills and 84 mph on Mt. Diablo in the East Bay.
Winds as high as 57 mph were clocked in San Francisco and 61 mph in Sausalito.
Strong, damaging winds continue to affect portions of the region this morning. Wind gusts exceeded 90 mph in the Mayacamas Mountains in the past 3 hours with gusts of 54 mph currently reported in San Francisco. #CAwx #BayAreaWX #highwinds pic.twitter.com/UimVUrsgVz
— NWS Bay Area (@NWSBayArea) January 19, 2021
Along with the high winds came an increased threat wildfires in the hills rendered tinder dry by drought conditions. Firefighters quickly responded to more than a dozen wind-whipped wildfires.
CAL FIRE CZU has responded to at least 10 vegetation fires across San Mateo & Santa Cruz Counties within the last 12 hours. All engines are committed to these fires today, with more resources coming in from other units. A few fires are within the #CZULightningComplex burn area. pic.twitter.com/pMx20lo56X
— CAL FIRE CZU (@CALFIRECZU) January 19, 2021
There was a blaze that burned about 10 acres near the Calpine geothermal plant area off Geysers Resort Rd. and a fire that forced some Milpitas homes to be evacuated Monday evening.READ MORE: High School Girl Sues San Mateo County, State of California to Allow Indoor Youth Sports
The #OldFire in NE Sonoma County near the Lake County line burnsabout 5-10 acres in the Geysers region late Monday night Jan. 18, 2021 amid strong offshore winds. https://t.co/kJkYD5DrsC @NorthBayNews #CAwx #FireSeason pic.twitter.com/FiSWJ7wCpA
— Kent Porter (@kentphotos) January 19, 2021
The Milpitas vegetation fire on a hillside near County Club Drive was first reported at 8:45 p.m. Police evacuated residents just briefly from four streets. No one was injured in the blaze and no structures were damaged.
Battalion Chief Jason Schoonover said the cause of the fire has not been determined. Winds helped spread the fire, which was contained to about two acres.
Another blaze ignited near the Altamont Pass Road. Approximately, 1 acre of mulch and debris burned before it was brought under control.
ACFD crews E08, E318, E320, Dozer17 & BC03, @LPFDFirefighter & @calfireSCU are providing a full vegetation response on Altamont Pass Road in unic. Livermore. Approx. 1 acre of mulch and debris are smoldering or on fire. #ALCOFIRE @alcofirefighter pic.twitter.com/jjA3HEmjwR
— Alameda County Fire (@AlamedaCoFire) January 19, 2021
Firefighters were also battling vegetation fires in the Santa Cruz Mountains near Highway 9 and Skyline.
Elsewhere, the powerful winds toppled trees, left streets littered with leaves and branches and darken thousands of homes because of downed power lines.
In Los Gatos, the winds left Black Road filled with debris.
A home was heavily damaged in Santa Rosa by a downed tree in the 5000 bock of Middlebrook Lane. The large fir tree fell Wednesday evening.
Calistoga city officials warned residents to trees and power lines were down in the 900 block of Foothill. Highway 9 in the Santa Cruz Mountains was also blocked by downed power and cable lines.
— Oakland Firefighters (@OaklandFireLive) January 19, 2021
Downed power lines also shutdown I-680 between Scott Creek in Fremont and Jacklin Road in Milpitas for several hours before lanes were reopened late Monday night.
HAZARDOUS CONDITIONS: The winds have knocked down power lines, trees, and tree limbs. This is the scene right now on Highway 1 south of Miramontes Point Rd. The NB lane is currently blocked as Coastside firefighters work to remove heavy tree limbs and debris from the highway. pic.twitter.com/2K7q2JiEan
— CAL FIRE CZU (@CALFIRECZU) January 19, 2021
Meanwhile, BART service was halted Tuesday morning between Richmond and El Cerrito del Norte on the Richmond Line in the Berryessa, Richmond and Millbrae directions due to windstorm debris on the track. Service was restored by 8 a.m.
Strong winds in the Sierra also caused multiple power outages and shut down at least two Lake Tahoe ski resorts for the day.
The National Weather Service has issued a high wind warning through 7 p.m. Tuesday for the Lake Tahoe area, where gusts in excess of 130 mph were possible over the top of Sierra ridges.MORE NEWS: Longtime San Francisco Merchants Lament Recent Spike in Burglaries
Heavenly and Kirkwood mountain resorts announced they would not open Tuesday due to the winds.