Lightning damages homes in Berkeley, Sausalito

KGO logo
Monday, March 31, 2014

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Unsettled weather was felt all over the Bay Area Monday, as a storm that included periods of thunder, lightning and heavy rain made its way through.

Nearby residents described it as sounding like a bomb going off when lightning stuck an 80-foot coastal redwood in Sausalito Monday afternoon with such force that it slammed into a house, shattering the windows and blowing out the electricity.

"According to my neighbor, there was a giant light flash and explosion at the same second," homeowner Elizabeth Small said.

Firefighters ripped open the walls to check for smoldering wires and Small's deck is in pieces.

The lightning strike knocked out power to about 1,000 PG&E customers.

Lightning also caused some damage in Berkeley, where it blew up a redwood tree near the intersection of Holly Street and Buena Avenue. At about 1:22 p.m., lightning struck the giant tree, sending shards of wood all over the neighborhood. Several homes, including one that has been red-tagged, and cars were damaged but no one was injured.

A bolt of lightning also struck an Alaska Airlines flight as it was landing in Oakland around 12:45 p.m. Flight 2589 from Portland landed without incident, was inspected and returned to service.

One hundred eight flights have been cancelled at San Francisco International Airport and delays of 30-90 minutes have been reported. No major delays have been reported at Mineta San Jose or Oakland International.

The weather caused problems for a cruise ship that was docked in San Francisco. Authorities believe the heavy wind and rain snapped a line that attached the Queen Victoria to Pier 35.

No one was hurt.

Crews in tugboats worked to get the ship back in place Monday afternoon