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San Francisco suffers power outages, downed trees as powerful storm rocks the Bay Area

A fallen tree blocks a road.
A tree felled by storms took out Muni overhead wires at 17th and Sanchez streets in San Francisco on Sunday. Authorities expected the gusty winds and strong rains to gradually ease by early Monday morning. | Source: Griffin Gaffney/The Standard

Strong winds and heavy rains caused widespread power failures, mudslides and street closures across the Bay Area Sunday as a winter storm pounded California.

The National Weather Service warned residents that the hazardous weather due to an exceptionally strong atmospheric river would continue through the evening, with gusty winds causing the most damage.

UPDATE: Thousands Remain Without Power in San Francisco After Wild Weekend Storm

Officials reported hurricane-strength winds of over 80 mph along the Big Sur coastline and gusts of up to 60 mph in San Francisco, Oakland and San Jose, downing trees and power lines.

Strong southerly wind gusts were expected throughout the Bay Area until around 8 p.m. Sunday as the storm moved south. Authorities predicted that the winds would gradually subside by Monday morning. Scattered thunderstorms also continued to hit throughout the day but were less severe as evening fell.

The National Weather Service continued to issue advisories throughout the day, warning of weather-related hazards ranging from flash flooding to breaking waves as high as 25 to 35 feet in Santa Cruz and along the central California coastline.

Cars and trucks ride along a rain-soaked highway under road signs.
Cars travel slowly in rainy weather Sunday along Highway 101 in San Francisco. | Source: George Kelly/The Standard

The Federal Aviation Administration said Sunday morning that San Francisco International Airport was under a traffic management program due to high winds, with arriving flights facing average delays of several hours or diverted to other airports.

In the mountains, Palisades Tahoe ski resort reported on Sunday that the storm was “absolutely dumping” snow, with the resort accumulating more than 2 feet of snowfall over the past four days. The resort said it expected to see another foot or two of snow on Sunday alone. The California Highway Patrol reported treacherous conditions and limited visibility on roads around Truckee.

READ MORE: ‘Travel Highly Discouraged’ Sunday as Rain, Strong Winds Return to Bay Area

Officials at PG&E told ABC7 around 1 p.m. that some 70,000 people across the Bay Area were without electricity, a number that had expanded to around 230,000 by 6 p.m.

Forecasters at the National Weather Service’s Storm Prediction Center said there was a very limited risk of brief tornados near the Central Coast on Sunday afternoon through early evening. By midday, the zone of risk was moved northward along the coast to include San Francisco and Marin County.

A flash flood warning was also in effect for multiple Bay Area counties beginning at 4 p.m. Saturday through 10 a.m. Monday.

A worker dismantling a fallen tree.
San Francisco employees worked to dismantle a downed tree Sunday that blocked Market Street near 18th Street, forcing the city to close the street in both directions. Powerful winds and rain littered roadways across the Bay Area with tree branches and debris. | Source: Astrid Kane/The Standard

San Francisco firefighters were kept busy by storm-related incidents, including a tree knocked into the westbound lanes of Market Street, blocking off the thoroughfare to traffic near 18th Street. Around 5 p.m., officials posted on X that workers had managed to clear the tree but that westbound Market Street remained “blocked by fallen trees” and that drivers should continue to expect delays.

Fire spokesperson Lt. Mariano Elias told The Standard that calls had come in for “Muni, high power, telephone/cable and many tree[s] down of various sizes.”

The winds were so powerful that near 25th and Rhode Island streets, a large piece of a building’s roof measuring some 1,200 square feet got blown off, said Elias. No injuries were reported. On Sunday evening, a handful of men could be seen bringing boards and other supplies into the building.

According to the Citizen platform, residents reported wire issues on Golden Gate Avenue east of Arguello Boulevard, as well as fallen trees at Geary Boulevard and 30th Avenue in the central Richmond District, 40th Avenue and Clement Street in the Outer Richmond, and Head Street off Randolph Street in Ingleside Heights.

The rest of the region’s roadways were not spared, as the California Highway Patrol issued wind advisories Sunday morning for Highway 101 from Candlestick Park into South San Francisco, the San Mateo Bridge, the Antioch Bridge and the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, with a special warning for box trucks and large, high-profile vehicles.

A car crushed by a tree.
A driver was injured after a tree fell onto a car on northbound Highway 101 near Todd Road in Santa Rosa, according to the Sonoma County Fire District. | Source: Courtesy Sonoma County Fire District

In the North Bay, authorities announced that the Panoramic Highway atop Mount Tamalpais was closed Sunday morning in both directions between Edgewood Drive and Pantoll Road.

ABC7 reported that a driver had been hurt after a tree fell onto a car on northbound Highway 101 near Todd Road in Santa Rosa, according to the Sonoma County Fire District. The driver was taken to the hospital for treatment, but the extent of his injuries were not clear late Sunday.

A KTVU reporter posted on X that firefighters in Alameda had rescued a person from a sailboat in strong winds near Ballena Bay.

Preliminary weather service rain totals through 4:30 a.m. Sunday saw nearly an inch of rain or more in multiple cities, including 0.93 inches in Downtown San Francisco, 1.01 inches in Downtown Oakland, 1.09 inches at San Francisco International Airport and 1.24 inches in San Rafael.

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