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Bay Area assesses damage after deadly and ferocious storm rips through region

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Bay Area assesses damage after deadly and ferocious storm rips through region
Bay Area assesses damage after deadly and ferocious storm rips through region 09:57

The latest storm system to wallop the San Francisco Bay Area caused widespread chaos Tuesday, with devastating winds felling trees across the region with two fatalities, multiple injuries and power outages for thousands.

Even during this extraordinary nearly three months of winter weather, Tuesday's onslaught of cyclonic winds will long be remembered.

KPIX 5 First Alert Weather: Current Conditions, Forecasts, Alerts For Your Area

High winds Tuesday throughout the Bay Area blew down dozens of trees and knocked out power for tens of thousands of PG&E customers, caused cancellations and delays on public transit, and led to the closure of multiple highways and roads.

Point Potrero in Richmond logged the highest Bay Area winds at 88 mph, according to the National Weather Service as of 8:08 p.m. 

Los Gatos saw winds at 82 mph, Oakland International Airport and Mount Diablo logged winds at 74 mph in the East Bay, Napa saw gusts at 65 mph, San Francisco International Airport reached gusts of 64 mph, and the Monterey, Palo Alto and Watsonville airports all saw winds at up to 59 mph.


Bay Area commuters recall chaos during windy storm

SAN FRANCISCO – It was a nightmare commute Tuesday afternoon as high winds ripped through the Bay Area.

The Bay Ferry was forced to cancel their trips during peak commute hours. The winds also caused hours-long backups on the Bay Bridge leaving commuters with few options to make it home.

Like many ferry commuters Tuesday, Gabe Weiss had one thought when he left his San Francisco office.

"I'm not going to get on a boat right now," Weiss told CBS News Bay Area.

Weiss has been commuting on the ferry into San Francisco for six years. He said he has never seen conditions like he did Tuesday, which prompted the ferry to stop service for hours.



Falling trees from storm damage structures at Oakland Zoo

OAKLAND -- Officials at the Oakland Zoo on Wednesday confirmed that several trees that fell on zoo grounds during the Tuesday storm caused damage, including one that hit the zoo's newest aviary.

A tweet by the Oakland Zoo's official account said that the aviary's mesh was torn by the tree. Six birds flew out of the tear in the mesh but were later found on zoo grounds, officials said. No animals were injured by the falling trees, but most were transported to the zoo's vet hospital as a precaution.

The post went on to say that the zoo's animal care team was working nonstop to retrieve all six birds, All are still on zoo grounds and none of these birds pose a threat to the public, other zoo animals, or the native wildlife in the area, officials said.

"We're confident we'll be able to recover all six soon," the post read.

The zoo is working to repair the damage to the aviary. In the meantime, portions of the Zoo's African Savanna exhibit may be closed to the public. 


State Routes 121 and 12 in Sonoma County closed by flooding

NAPA COUNTY -- CHP in Napa County said both State Routes 121 and 12 remained closed due to flooding on Wednesday.

Flooding has closed CA-121 between CA-116 and CA-12 in Sonoma County. All lanes are blocked in both directions. CHP said that CA-12 was also shut down in both directions between Watmaugh Road and Fremont Drive in Sonoma County due to flooding. All lanes are blocked in both directions.   

 The CHP Napa Area Twitter account posted about the closures and included photos showing the flooding.

The tweet warned drivers it is both unlawful and unsafe to cross cone patterns and road closure signs and to never drive through flooded roadways.

Motorists are advised to expect delays and to use alternate routes to avoid the area. There is no estimated time to reopen the roadways.  


At least 5 dead from toppled trees during Bay Area bomb cyclone storm

At least five people were killed in the Bay Area from toppled trees during a violent "bomb cyclone" storm packing gale-force winds that left widespread destruction Tuesday across the region.

In San Francisco, the city announced Wednesday that two people were killed in separate incidents during the storm Tuesday. The victims were not immediately identified.

In Oakland, a person in a tent next to Lake Merritt was killed when a tree fell on him, the Oakland Fire Department said Wednesday. 

The two other victims killed by falling trees Tuesday were identified by authorities Wednesday morning.



Update: 2 killed in San Francisco by trees toppled during Tuesday's storm

SAN FRANCISCO -- Two people were killed by falling trees in San Francisco Tuesday as an epic windstorm fueled by a bomb cyclone swept through the region, the city announced Wednesday. The victims were among at least five people in the Bay Area killed by toppled trees.

The two unidentified victims were brought to Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital with injuries from two separate storm-related incidents and did not survive their injuries, according to a press statement from the city.



Update: Repairs on 3rd Street Bridge in San Francisco continue after storm damage from barges

SAN FRANCISCO -- Repairs on the damaged 3rd Street Bridge in San Francisco continued Wednesday, a day after the span sustained damage after being struck by two industrial barges that became unmoored during Tuesday's storm.

The San Francisco Department of Public Works said its carpenters were working to shore up and block off the buckled wooden walkway Wednesday. 



Nearly 65,000 PG&E customers without power after storm

Nearly 65,000 PG&E customers around the Bay Area remained without power Wednesday afternoon after a storm this week brought rain and high winds to the region, according to the utility. 

That number is down by about 10,000 customers from numbers released from the utility at 1 p.m.

The majority of the outages were in the East Bay, where 34,653 customers were without power as of 3 p.m. Wednesday. There were also more than 21,600 customers affected along the Peninsula, more than 4,300 in San Francisco, nearly 3,600 in the South Bay and 750 in the North Bay, PG&E officials said. 



Multiple roads remain closed in Santa Cruz Mountains due to downed trees, power lines

SANTA CRUZ COUNTY -- State Highway 9 in the Santa Cruz Mountains remained closed in multiple places Wednesday due to fallen trees and downed power lines from the brutal windstorm Tuesday.

CHP Santa Cruz tweeted that the roadway was blocked at El Solyo Heights Drive, between Glen Arbor Road and Arboleda Way, between Scenic Drive and Woodland Drive and between Bear Creek Road. and Upper State Route 236.  

The agency tweeted about the closures Wednesday morning.

Additionally, State Route 236 was closed at Jamison Creek Road. Currently, there is no estimated time to reopen the roadways.  

By Dave Pehling

Mudslide triggers evacuations in Woodside neighborhood

WOODSIDE -- San Mateo County officials recommended that the residents of approximately 30 homes on Patrol Road in rural Woodside leave their homes Wednesday after a mudslide shutdown the roadway.

A photo posted on social media showed a stream of mud oozing down the street. Deputies went door to door to warn residents of the threat.

The National Weather Service has issued a flood advisory for Woodside and surrounding communities until 1 p.m. after up to 3 inches of rain has fallen in the saturated hillsides over the last 24 hours. 



1 dead, 1 injured when falling tree hits vehicle in Walnut Creek

WALNUT CREEK -- Contra Costa County Fire confirmed that one person died and one person was injured in Walnut Creek Tuesday night when a tree fell on their vehicle.

The incident happened about 7 p.m. in the area of Rossmore Parkway and Tice Creek Drive. 

The Contra Costa Fire PIO said there were two individuals in the vehicle. One person died from the impact and the second person suffered minor injuries. Officials later clarified that the car was traveling on Stanley Dollar Drive when the large tree hit it.

The passenger was killed and the driver sustained minor injuries, according to Contra Costa Fire.

The roadway was still blocked as of shortly before 9 p.m. 

On Wednesday, 79-year-old Walnut Creek resident Thomas Huster was identified as the victim who died in the incident. The accident is under investigation by police.

It took firefighters about 90 minutes to pull Huster's body from the wreckage, which was near 1010 Stanley Dollar Drive. 

"It was quite a complex extraction," Hill said. "It was a very large tree and the way it fell made it dangerous for firefighters to get in there."


Update: All eastbound Bay Bridge lanes reopened hours after big rig overturns; Traffic at a crawl

SAN FRANCISCO -- An overturned big rig on the Bay Bridge Tuesday afternoon blocked multiple lanes of traffic in the eastbound direction out of San Francisco, grinding the evening commute to a halt for hours until it was cleared.

The California Highway Patrol said the crash happened around 4 p.m. on Interstate Highway 80 before Treasure Island and east of 4th Street and involved injuries.

Authorities on the scene of an overturned big rig on the lower deck of the Bay Bridge on March 21, 2023. San Francisco Fire Department

The right and center lanes were completely blocked. All trucks were being asked to exit eastbound I-80 at 4th Street because there was not enough clearance to pass the overturned truck, the CHP said.



Emergency PG&E work closes Hwy 101 in Belmont

CHP reported at around 8:40 p.m. Tuesday night that there is an emergency road closure on northbound and southbound U.S. Highway 101 between E. Hillsdale Blvd. and Ralston Ave. in Belmont. All lanes were blocked.

The San Mateo County Department of Emergency Management later confirmed that there would be a planned closure at 11 p.m. as PG&E replaced wires that run across the freeway.

Motorists were advised to expect delays and to use alternate routes to avoid the area. There was no estimated time to reopen the roadway.  

By Dave Pehling

Downed tree derails Amtrak train near Martinez

CONTRA COSTA COUNTY -- A tree fell onto an Amtrak train in Contra Costa County Tuesday afternoon, causing it to derail, according to authorities.

Around 3:25 p.m., the Crockett-Carquinez Fire Department responded to the scene, located about ½ mile east of Port Costa. Fifty-five passengers were on board.

The agency said an hour later that there were no injuries as a result of the derailment.  



Downed tree closes Highway 92 in both directions near Half Moon Bay

A downed tree on Highway 92 east of Half Moon Bay closed the roadway in both directions Tuesday evening. 

The incident was reported at 5:22 p.m. just east of Lemos Farms, the California Highway Patrol said.

There was no estimated time of opening.


Fallen tree on San Francisco's Haight Street crushes cars

SAN FRANCISCO -- A tree fell across Haight Street in San Francisco late Tuesday afternoon, yet another incident caused by the high winds howling through the Bay Area during the latest storm.

According to witness and San Francisco native Sven Söderlund, the tree fell around 4:40 p.m., crushing a a dark blue Toyota parked next to it. A photo he shared showed the damage.

Tree crushes cars at Haight and Fillmore
Tree crushes cars at Haight and Fillmore.  Sven Söderlund

The tree also damaged a second car across the street in addition to ripping down the overhead wires that help power SF Muni bus service on Haight Street. Buses are being rerouted around the downed tree.


Downed tree derails Amtrak train near Martinez

An Amtrak train derailed Tuesday afternoon near Martinez after a tree fell onto the tracks, authorities said.

The derailment happened southeast of Port Costa at around 3 p.m. The Crockett-Carquinez Fire Department said none of the 55 passengers aboard the train were hurt.

 As of 4 p.m., the fire department said it had cleared the scene. There was no immediate word on rail closures or delays.



Van driver killed by toppled tree in Portola Valley

A person driving a van was killed Tuesday afternoon in Portola Valley after a tree toppled onto the vehicle, the California Highway Patrol reported.

The van was heading eastbound on Alpine Road just west of Interstate Highway 280 when a large tree fell onto the moving vehicle at around 1:30 p.m., the CHP said.

The solo occupant of the van was trapped inside and he was pronounced dead at the scene.



Multiple downed trees close Highway 1 in San Mateo County

SAN MATEO COUNTY -- The Calfire San Mateo-Santa Cruz Unit was reporting multiple trees down on Highway 1 south of Miramontes Point Road Tuesday afternoon.

The Calfire CZU Twitter account posted about the closure.

There was no estimated time for reopening, authorities said. Drivers are advised to use alternate routes.  


Bay Area airports experience delays, cancellations due to storm

Bay Area airports have reported flight delays and cancellations Tuesday due to wet and windy weather conditions.

About 300 flights have been delayed and 27 flights have been canceled at San Francisco International Airport. The delays at SFO average about 70 minutes.

Oakland International Airport has reported one canceled arrival and 24 delayed departures over 30 minutes. The airport has no canceled departures. 

San Jose Mineta International Airport is experiencing minimal delays along with one canceled arrival and one canceled departure due to weather conditions. The airport has also supported five diversions due to weather at other airports.


Bay Ferry, Golden Gate Ferry cancels trips due to strong winds, rough water

SAN FRANCISCO -- The San Francisco Bay Ferry and Golden Gate Ferry have suspended all service for the Tuesday evening commute due to strong winds and rough waters.

"Modified service: System wide service suspension. Due to severe weather there is a system wide service suspension. We are monitoring conditions and will provide an alert if and when we are able to resume service," the agency said shortly after 4 p.m.

The ferry began to cancel trips around 2 p.m. impacting destinations including South San Francisco, downtown San Francisco, Oakland, Alameda, Richmond and Vallejo.

It was not known when ferry service would resume.

Bay Ferry officials urged passengers to use BART to complete trips across the bay in the meantime.

The stormy weather has also prompted the cancellation of all Golden Gate Ferry trips between San Francisco and Marin County.

In a tweet Tuesday, officials have canceled four trips. Buses will carry passengers on the remaining trips.


Downed wires close southbound I-880/CA-84 connector

FREMONT -- CHP issued a severe traffic alert Tuesday afternoon due to downed wires on the southbound I-880 connector ramp to CA-84 W and CA-84 E in Fremont. 

The SF Bay Area Twitter account posted about the closure shortly after 2:30 p.m.

CHP said the connector ramps are currently blocked. Eastbound traffic is diverting off to I-880 southbound and westbound traffic is diverting off to Fremont Avenue at the intersection. 

Motorists are being advised to expect delays and to use alternate routes to avoid the area. There is no estimated time to reopen the roadway.  


Tree falls on car along Highway 29 in Napa County

A tree fell onto a vehicle traveling along northbound St. Helena Highway/SR 29 between St. Helena and Calistoga Tuesday, according to Cal Fire.  

No one was hurt. Cal Fire said Highway 29 was temporarily closed at Bale Lane.


Storm system slams into Bay Area unleashing damaging wind gusts

A pair of spinning low-pressure systems rotating around a common center, parked off the California coast, was adding another layer of misery for rain-weary Bay Area residents.

In a season of weather oddities, a new phrase was added to local vocabulary Tuesday afternoon. It's called the "Fujiwhara Effect" and is the interaction between two similarly sized low-pressure centers rotating around a common center.

The combination, forecasters said, will whip up 60 mph winds and leave toppled trees and downed powerlines in the storm's wake.



Eastbound I-580 roadway crack near Livermore forces lane closures

Caltrans crews battled winds and rain Tuesday as they raced to repair a crack and small landslide that has forced the closure of two eastbound lanes on Interstate Highway 580 in Livermore.

The closure backed up traffic during the morning commute as a wet weather system moved into the area. There was no ETA as to when the repairs would be completed and the lane reopened.

Caltrans spokesman Bart Ney warned drivers to expect lengthy delays.



No telling how much more snow coming for Sierra Nevada

No one really knows how much snow fell on the infamous Donner Party when the pioneers were trapped atop the Sierra Nevada for months and dozens died near Lake Tahoe in the winter of 1846-47.

But this season has now etched its way into the history books as the second snowiest in the 77 years of record-keeping at the Central Sierra Snow Lab — more than 56.4 feet (677 inches, 17.2 meters) with no end in sight.

And there's still a chance it could surpass the record of 67.7 feet (812 inches, 20.6 meters) set in 1951-52 when more than 200 passengers on a San Francisco-bound luxury train from Chicago were stranded for three days near Donner Pass west of Truckee, California.


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