Lightning strikes across Bay Area; rain accompanies unexpected winds

- It was a strange mix of late summer weather conditions for the Bay Area Monday evening, bringing a combination of thunder, lightning, rain and unexpected winds. 

The National Weather Service Bay Area tweeted that as of 10 p.m., they had detected around 1,000 cloud-to-ground lightning strikes throughout the Bay Area region. 

Viewers have been sending KTVU their photos and video clips of the spectacle all evening. In Millbrae, lightning caused damage when it struck a chimney, according to photos from Central County Fire. 

In Moss Beach, lightning made a large cypress tree look like kindling. Fortunately, no one was injured, according to Peter Finch who took the photo on Pearl Avenue. 

In San Francisco, the weather conditions caused an outage and game delay at AT&T Park for the Giants game. Only one player made it up to bat before tarps needed to be brought out. The first pitch finally happened just before 11 p.m. 

Strong winds blew up the coast early Monday morning from Monterey causing power outages and downing trees and power lines, fire officials and a meteorologist with the National Weather Service said.

NWS Meteorologist Drew Peterson, who studied and experienced the unexpected event, said he woke up at about 1:45 a.m. to hear the sound of howling winds at his home in Pacific Grove.

The high winds eventually made their way to San Jose, Napa Valley and east to San Pablo Bay. Sustained winds reached up to 35 mph, according to Peterson.

The hardest hit areas appear to have been in Santa Clara County around Los Gatos and Campbell, where fire officials received more than 30 calls about tree and pole fires and downed trees and wires. People have recorded lightning in this area and are posting video on social media. 

The wind also caused about 11,000 PG&E customers to lose power in the South Bay.

"Earlier today it was an all hands on deck situation," PG&E spokeswoman Tamar Sarkissian said.

PG&E officials brought in other crews from around the area to help with the outage.

As of 3:15 p.m., 371 were still without power. Sarkissian said crews hope to have power restored to those customers by later this afternoon or early this evening.

Santa Clara County fire officials said dispatchers started receiving calls at 2:39 a.m. about the wind and related problems. By 4:39 a.m. dispatchers handled more than 19 calls and by 7 a.m. they had taken more
than 30, according to fire officials.

No one was injured and no structures were damaged.

Unusual gusts were also recorded. Peterson said when he checked online early in the morning a gust of 54 mph had been recorded in Pebble Beach.

Another 54 mph gust was reported at a station half way between Half Moon Bay and San Francisco International Airport.

"I was kind of surprised," Peterson said of the reading in Pebble Beach.

He said only a few locations appear to have sustained the gusts.

Sarkissian said PG&E meteorologists told her that a possibility exists for a similar event this afternoon or this evening or Tuesday.

"We're prepared for that possibility," she said. "It could have a similar impact."

Sarkissian said PG&E officials want to remind customers that if they see low or downed power lines, assume the lines are live and to keep themselves and others away and call 911 immediately.

 

 

Sutro Tower got fried. #sanfrancisco #sf

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