Powerful winds batter California; nearly 200,000 PG&E customers lose power

The Golden Gate Bridge is seen through  rain and splashing bay water
The Golden Gate Bridge is seen through a mix of rain and splashing bay water last month in Sausalito, Calif.
(Josh Edelson / AFP via Getty Images)
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As gusty winds downed power lines and trees Tuesday night throughout Northern California and the Central Coast, more than 172,000 Pacific Gas & Electric customers lost power.

In Boulder Creek, firefighters rescued a 1-year-old baby who was pinned to the floor of his home after a tree snapped and speared through the roof to the basement. Boulder Creek Fire Protection District Fire Chief Mark Bingham said the child was in critical condition when transferred to a nearby hospital.

Six people, including the baby, and two dogs were rescued by Boulder Creek and Cal Fire crews from the home on Bobcat Lane. Bingham said power lines were also down and winds hit 50 mph, making it difficult to get an ambulance.


“We had about 20 storm-related incidents today due to winds,” Bingham said, noting that the baby’s rescue was “not something we typically train for.”

In Southern California, the National Weather Service issued a high wind warning for some areas Tuesday night with 30- to 40-mph winds and gusts topping 60 mph.

“Gusty winds will blow around unsecured objects and make driving difficult, especially for high-profile vehicles. Areas of blowing dust reducing visibility are expected in and near agricultural areas. Tree limbs could be blown down and a few power outages may result,” the National Weather Service said.

Northern California regions most affected by the outages have been San Francisco’s South Bay, where more than 40,400 people were affected; the Central Coast, where over 23,000 were without power; and the Peninsula, with more than 61,300 affected, according to PG&E spokesperson J.D. Guidi.

Before the outages, Guidi said PG&E prepared for the storm by using prediction models to “help us determine the potential timing, location and number of power outages.” The utility company also placed “power poles, powerlines, transformers and other electric equipment” throughout its service area to quickly restore power in anticipation of the heavy winds.

“PG&E has a plan, and we will execute that plan,” Guidi said. “Local PG&E operations emergency centers will activate in impacted regions to more efficiently allocate crews, materials and other resources to restoration efforts.”


The windstorm has brought gusts of more than 60 mph to some areas and is expected to continue overnight, according to National Weather Service meteorologist Rick Canepa. Wednesday is expected to remain breezy with gusts up to 35 mph.

In the San Francisco Bay Area, a toppled tree on the Bay Bridge blocked three lanes of traffic earlier in the afternoon.

The gusts also caused scheduling delays for the San Francisco Ferry and service cancellation for the Treasure Island Ferry.