Rain knocks down trees, power lines in parts of Bay Area

ByABC7 News Staff KGO logo
Friday, February 6, 2015
High winds topple trees all over Bay Area
Friday's rain and wind storm caused trees to fall into power lines, knocking out power for thousands around the Bay Area.

After weeks of dry weather, a big storm moved into the Bay Area this week. Concerns over heavy rain, high winds and flooding, especially in the North Bay, eased as the rainfall had been much less than predicted. As a result, a Flash Flood Warning was was canceled for the North Bay region.

VIDEO: Storm causes flooding, downed trees in North Bay

In the East Bay, the storm impact was mixed with scattered power outages and some downed trees, but no flooding. A huge tree took out power lines after falling across Bunce Meadows Drive in Alamo, but it didn't hit anything else.

And in downtown Alamo, a big branch fell from a pear tree damaging four cars. Linda Bianco's mini-van got the worst of it. Luckily, her puppy Gabbi was inside and escaped unscathed. "The windshield's broken and I can see a couple of dents on the top, so thankfully we'll have to clean it off to see if there is anymore, so I'm happy I was out of it," Bianco said.

VIDEO: Storm topples trees, causes power outages in Alamo

In Martinez, there were sandbags in front of some low-lying businesses on Main Street, but no real threat from the nearby creek, which remains well below its banks.

Meantime, in Walnut Creek, there were people who welcomed the blustery weather almost like a long lost friend. "I'm so happy it's raining, couldn't be better," one woman said.

PHOTOS: Storm moves into Bay Area

And others, not so much. "I know we need it, but I love living in California because it's hot and sunny, not this," Amanda Russell said.

In San Francisco, high winds prompted trees to fall on streets, cars and one even fell on top of the Richmond District's Police Department building.

VIDEO: Trees fall on streets, police building in San Francisco

It has been a day of non-stop calls for utility repair crews and public safety personnel as high winds and rain raked the Bay Area. In the South Bay, downed trees and broken limbs were the major problem.

A Wind Advisory for most of the Bay Area is in effect until 4 a.m. Saturday.

Wind Advisory issued for Bay Area residents.

When the wind kicked up, police and fire units found themselves responding to multiple reports of trees and branches down and with them, power lines.

VIDEO: Downed trees major problem in South Bay

In Los Altos, it only took a small branch to break off and land atop a PG&E pole to knock out power to at least 800 customers. Residents along El Monte Avenue said a noise alerted them trouble was brewing. "We heard a very loud sound, just kind of buzzing sound that went from here all the way to the other side, and all of a sudden the electricity went out right after that," Madhu Sanjanwala said.

A crew was able to remove the branch and restore power to most of the neighborhood within an hour or so. "There's a line, there's a pole right behind my house and I was worried that something happened there. Right next door to that, they have a transformer there too, so I thought that transformer blew out," Sanjanwala said.

A short distance away, a tall eucalyptus tree was uprooted by the winds and fell across the southbound lanes of Foothill Expressway in Palo Alto, across from the veterans administration hospital. Fortunately, no vehicles were hit as the large tree crashed onto the roadway.

And in Los Altos Hills, falling limbs snagged a power line on Magdalena Avenue, forcing sheriff's deputies to block access to residents until a PG&E crew could respond.

In San Jose, a common problem was clogged drains, backing up rain water because of leaves and other debris. A resident of Hedding Street said it happens every time it rains and she calls the city to clear the drains.

In other areas, entire traffic lanes and sidewalks were flooded. A bus bench and sign posts were surrounded by water along Coleman Avenue and vehicles plowed right through the water. It was a day that driver appreciated windshield wipers that worked.

In the North Bay, rain fell hard enough to cause a 45 minute power outage at the Bohemian Market in Occidental and Salmon Creek Middle School was closed due to the storm.

The Russian River, which experts predicted to flood, remained friendly.

As for the roads, a big-rig skidded and leaked diesel fuel, which led to a clean-up and a small traffic jam on River Road in Forestville.

Meanwhile, the wineries say their thirsty crops will gladly take the rain on.

The proprietor at Armida Winery says he knows there could be some side effects if it's too much too soon, but as people in the Famring community tend to do, they are hoping for the best.

"We are super excited about it because we need the rain so bad. We have been waiting for it and it's finally here. We are okay with it. We want it to come down as hard as it can, as long as it can, as much as we can get," said Bruce Cousins with the Armida Winery.

VIDEO: ABC7 Meteorologist Drew Tuma explains the Pineapple Express coming Friday.

With more rain headed our way, we want to remind you that it's easy to track the storm on Live Doppler 7 HD anytime! Click here to download the ABC7 Weather App for free on Apple's App Store or Google Play.