Bay Area weather updates: 1st of series of storms dumps hail, snow across parts of region

ByABC7 News Staff KGO logo
Thursday, February 23, 2023
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SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- The Bay Area is gearing up for a winter storm that is expected to dump several inches of snow on low-level peaks around the region starting Thursday night and into Friday.

On Tuesday, several cities were battered by strong winds that toppled trees and downed powerlines leaving thousands in the dark.

RELATED: Here's where and when snow is possible as Bay Area sees coldest temps of season this week

There are multiple weather threats (wind, cold, rain, snow) over the next couple of days. Between Thursday night and Friday morning, many areas will have the chance to see snow.

Power Outages

Here are number of customers impacted as of 9:45 p.m. Wednesday, according to PG&E:

  • San Francisco: 179
  • Peninsula: 21,908
  • North Bay: 499
  • East Bay: 76
  • South Bay: 2,697
  • Total: 25,359

    11 p.m.
    SF restaurants prepare for incoming cold weather, storms

    As frigid temperatures descend on the Bay Area ahead of a series of storms, many local restaurants are busy preparing.

    Ro Hart is the manager of Tony's Pizza Napoletana in San Francisco's North Beach neighborhood. She says business at the restaurant is almost always impacted when big storm systems move into the area.

    "It's so cold and windy right now. As you can see, it does affect us a bit. No one wants to sit out," Hart said.

    Hart says given the restaurant's smaller inside, they often depend on outdoor seating to help business. It will be a difficult task with highs only expected in the 40s in the coming days.

    Despite the chilly weather, there were some brave enough to face the cold.

    "I'm alright with it. It's not that cold, I mean we're sitting outside enjoying a nice meal, so it must not be too bad," one customer said.

    The Golden Gate Restaurant Association says this isn't the first time this year that the weather has hit local eateries. They say the heavy rains in early Jan. were even worse.

    "If you think you're not going to make it, if you're looking at tomorrow's weather forecast and you know you want to stay home, please call your restaurant or cancel online so they can fill that seat with someone else," said Amy Cleary.

    7 p.m.
    Thousands left in the dark after Tuesday's wind event

    Across the Peninsula, there have been numerous reported downed trees and so many power outages.

    At the peak, there were 60,000 PG&E customers on the Peninsula without power. PG&E says that's nearly one in three customers.

    Wind gusts reached more than 60 mph in the Bay Area, according to PG&E and that's to blame for numerous downed trees.

    In South San Francisco fierce winds made a mess in the backyard of one home on Lomitas Avenue.

    "A tree came down, knocked down our lines, broke a power pole and obviously affected this homeowner's house," said Aaron Johnson, PG&E Regional Vice President for the Bay Area.

    The 150-foot tree that came crashing down in that neighborhood knocked out power to 134 customers. A cellphone tower and a school were also affected.

    PG&E said Bay Area residents can expect more cleanup and power outages to come.

    "We will see a lot of limbs coming down, trees coming down, and impacts to the power system for sure," said Johnson.

    5 p.m.
    Cold snap prompts San Francisco to open emergency shelters

    San Francisco's Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing announced Wednesday it will be making emergency shelter beds available for those experiencing homelessness through next Monday, but some are asking for a speedier response.

    "This is why the system really needs flexibility. That when there's a cold snap like this, the danger increases exponentially for folks who are living on the streets and we need to have a quicker response," said Lydia Bransten, exec. dirrector of The Gubbio Project. The nonprofit provides a warm place for people to sleep during the day, but she says it's not enough - urging the city to act more quickly in opening emergency shelters.

    "People coming in this morning were freezing," said Bransten. "They were really tired because they didn't get any sleep on the street last night because they were moving around to stay warm."

    Walk-up shelter beds will be available for those coming in off the streets on a first-come, first-served basis.

    Here are the intake times and locations:

    • Next Door (intake 4 p.m - 10 p.m.)
    • Sanctuary (intake 4 p.m - 10 p.m.)
    • MSC South (intake 4 p.m - 10 p.m.)
    • First Unitarian Church (intake begins at 6 p.m.)

    4 p.m.
    2-year-old boy recovering after tree crashes into Santa Cruz Mountains home, family says

    A 2-year-old boy is in stable condition after a tree crashed into his Boulder Creek home Tuesday afternoon, according to the family.

    The quick work of many neighbors helped rescue Milo, who was rushed to the hospital for broken legs, pelvis and cuts to his skin after being hit by branches that came through the roof of the home.

    3 p.m.
    SF Bay Ferry not expecting weather-related service issues during storms

    San Francisco Bay Ferry officials tweeted Wednesday that they don't currently expect any weather-related service disruptions during this week's storms.

    11 a.m.
    Strong winds ravage Bay Area: Here's a look at the aftermath

    ABC7's Lena Howland said on Wednesday morning gusty winds knocked a massive tree over crunching a car in San Francisco taking down a fence and several power lines.

    10:45 a.m.
    Winter Storm Watch expands

    The East Bay Hills and the hills of Marin County are now included in the Winter Storm Watch Thursday into Friday morning. Snow levels could drop below 1,500 feet for a dusting of snow. Above 2,000' we could expect 2"+.

    The Santa Cruz Mountains, Mt Hamilton, and the North Bay Mountains will also see heavy snow with the possibility of up to 12".

    4 a.m.
    North Bay school closures

    Montgomery Elementary in Sonoma County will close on Wednesday due to power outages.


    10 p.m.
    Caltrans clears fallen tree along Bay Bridge

    Westbound traffic coming into San Francisco is back to normal as of 10 p.m. Tuesday after high winds sent a tree falling into traffic right before the Yerba Buena Island Tunnel. No one was hurt but two vehicles were damaged.

    CHP says that the massive tree fell on the hood of a vehicle. A second car crashed into another part of that tree. First firefighters, then Caltrans crews were able to eventually clear the branches and the trunk of the tree.

    9:50 p.m.
    Baby critically injured after tree crashes into Boulder Creek home

    A 1-year-old was critically injured after a redwood tree crashed into a Boulder Creek home in the Santa Cruz Mountains on Tuesday, according to fire officials. Emergency crews rescued six people from the home, including two dogs.

    8:50 p.m.
    South Bay battered by gusty winds

    The South Bay was considered to be one of the hardest hit areas Tuesday afternoon, by PG&E. At one point, nearly 16,700 customers were impacted, coming in second to the Peninsula which had 32,000 customers impacted by 3 p.m.

    Along Sherman Street in San Jose, large branches toppled in the wind, taking out wires in front of a home. The scene mirrored many others across the region. Residents with growing concern over the day's powerful wind gusts.

    San Jose resident Diane Chermak briefly stopped the interview to say, "I'm a little nervous standing out here."

    Chermak has lived in the area for almost 20 years, and said trees don't normally come down during high-wind events. Now, there's added danger of downed wires next door causing more worry.

    "These old Victorians, the wood is so old," she described. "If there's a spark, that's what really worries me."

    Elsewhere, the evening commute through city streets, interrupted by the loss of power. Along NB 87 before 280, a tree stopped traffic in the right lane. At Seventh and Keyes Streets in San Jose, a large branch fell across several wires. San Jose Fire was on-scene.

    In Downtown San Jose, ABC7 News found empty outdoor seating areas, but plenty of foot traffic.

    "We were going for it no matter what," Livermore resident Troy Lewis said. He dressed in layers to attend a concert at the SAP Center. He was strategic about his parking plans.

    "We parked in the parking structure, but we're ready," Lewis said. "Figured it's gonna be bad tonight with the wind, trees may be coming down."

    Tuesday's wind surge, coming roughly seven weeks since historic storms hit the region in January. Residents remaining prepared and exercising patience as the Bay Area takes the brunt of the storm.

    "PG&E will come and the power will go off... but it's gonna be a long time," Chermak said. "Which is understandable. I'm sure they've got their hands full."

    4:52 p.m.
    Some WB lanes of Bay Bridge reopen after downed tree causes backup

    The third and fourth lanes of the Bay Bridge have reopened as of 4:52 p.m. after crews cleared out the downed tree, the CHP said. The fifth lane will remain closed for at least two more hours.

    3:45 p.m.
    Large tree blocking several westbound lanes on Bay Bridge

    A large tree is blocking several westbound lanes on the Bay Bridge near the Treasure Island Tunnel causing a massive traffic jam, according to the California Highway Patrol.

    Drivers should expect delays and avoid the area if possible.

    3:30 p.m.
    Ferry delays or cancellations

    San Francisco Bay Ferry officials say due to the weather the 4:20 p.m. South San Francisco departure to Alameda and Oakland has been canceled. The next departure will be at 5:20 p.m.

    Treasure Island Ferry officials say due to the extreme winds on the Bay, the Treasure Island Ferry has been canceled for the rest of the afternoon.

    3 p.m.
    65K to 70K PG&E customers without power in Bay Area

    PG&E spoke to ABC7's Kristen Sze on our 3 p.m. show "Getting Answers," and PG&E is reporting 65,000 to 70,000 power outages in the Bay Area.

    PG&E says they are on standby with crews and supplies available to help restore lost power.

    2 p.m.

    SF, Oakland see wind gusts up to 63 mph

    Meteorologist Drew Tuma tweeted that San Francisco and Oakland are experiencing high wind gusts of 63 mph as of 2 p.m.

    Toppled Trees

    Even before the rain and cold arrived for our latest winter storm, high winds made their not-so-welcome return to the Bay Area. Up and down the Peninsula and across the region, trees were toppled causing damage to homes, vehicles and power lines.

    ABC7 News anchor Dion Lim was in San Francisco when a massive tree fell on a car between Harrison St. and 25th St. in San Francisco.

    VIDEO: High winds bring down massive tree onto car and power lines in San Francisco

    An image obtained with permission to ABC7 News shows a tree that fell on top of a car on 23rd St. in San Francisco.

    This is an image of a tree falling on top of a car on 23rd St. in San Francisco, Calif. on Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2023.
    This is an image of a tree falling on top of a car on 23rd St. in San Francisco, Calif. on Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2023.
    Reddit: u/a__bad__idea

    Our ABC7 News photographer Jackie Sissel captured an image of a massive tree that fell by Walgreens at Potrero and 24th St. in San Francisco.

    This is an image of a massive tree that fell down at 24th St. and Potrero in San Francisco, Calif. on Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2023.
    This is an image of a massive tree that fell down at 24th St. and Potrero in San Francisco, Calif. on Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2023.

    San Jose Tree Service Inc. Arborist Robert Apolinar told ABC7 News reporter Dustin Dorsey that he thinks we could see a lot more downed trees in the coming days.

    Apolinar says looking out for warning signs of trees that may be prone to failure, like dead branches or limbs that stretch away from the trunk, may be the best way to prepare for what's to come.

    Unlike our January storms, evergreen trees may be most at risk because it's not the rain that's the biggest concern, it's the wind.

    "The rain is more going down, a light push, some extra weight," Apolinar said. "But the wind can spin and come from different angles. So, it certainly puts stress on the roots and if the tree is really weak, it will pull it right over."