Bay Area officials warn drivers, beachgoers of strong winds

SAN FRANCISCO (KTVU) - The U.S. Coast Guard and the California Highway Patrol are advising people to be extra careful Friday and Saturday for hidden hazards in this beautiful spring weather.

Traveling across the Bay Bridge may be more of a challenge than usual because of strong winds.

The CHP issued a high wind warning that it says affects all drivers and motorcyclists. All it takes is a sudden wind gust.

"It's not uncommon to get pushed to another lane of traffic," said CHP Officer Sean Wilkenfeld. ,

The CHP says the wind can stop as quickly as it started, so be careful not to overcorrect.

Then there is also the danger of debris kicking up and obstructing the view of the roadway. "You want to travel so there's not a vehicle on all sides of you. You want to always have an out," said Wilkenfeld.

In Oakland a large tree fell on a car while it was being driven near Lake Merritt Thursday afternoon.

Fire crews rescued the woman behind the wheel and fortunately, she wasn't injured.

At Crissy Field Thursday evening, the beautiful spring weather enticed kite surfers who took advantage of the wind and surf.

As he hit the water shortly before sunset, one man said he was wary of the forecast for swells up to 13 feet Friday and seven feet on Saturday. "If you've been surfing for a while, you know where they won't be big," said Anthony Chavez.

Chavez says he still may go to Ocean Beach but stay out of the water, "It might be fun to check it out and watch from the cliffs there."

The Coast Guard is warning beachgoers from Sonoma County to Monterey to be extra alert and be on the lookout for sneaker waves.

"A sneaker wave is a wave in a set that is larger and stronger . It's usually unexpected so it can be pretty dangerous to be out on the water and on the beaches," said Lt. j.g. Leigh Van Lear with the U.S. Coast Guard.

The Coast Guard advises boaters to file a float plan. They say to let someone know where you're going, have a communication device such as a radio, and always wear a life jacket.

As for beachgoers, don't turn your back to the ocean and keep a close eye on children.

"I let them play but if they go in past their knees , I tell them to come back in and not to go as far into the water. If there's a warning, we probably wouldn't come," said Patricia Adams, a mother of four from San Jose.

The Coast Guard advises anyone who plans to be on the water to use the buddy system - always have someone with you.