Howling NorCal winds cause power outages, fires, downed trees

Unusually strong winds overnight on Monday caused power outages and downed trees in the Bay Area and sparked fires in Santa Cruz County. 

KTVU meteorologist Steve Paulson said gusts were howling at 82 mph in Blackhawk and 52 mph in the Oakland hills. 

As of 5 p.m., 17,517 Pacific Gas and Electric customers in the Bay Area were still without power. The utility said the impact has been the worst in the South Bay where 9,660 are still affected. 

East Bay Regional Park District closes parks because of high winds

In Lafayette, there were no fresh donuts or hot coffee at Johnny's Donuts because of the power outage. But, with help from candles and a lantern, they are open and selling cold drinks and donuts still good from the day before. The owner said he called PG&E but it’s not exactly clear when power will be restored.

 "They said there's a crew on the way already, but I don't see anybody out here," said donut shop owner Chaith Taing. "they said they will give me an update between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m."

A massive tree fell in Santa Rosa by a house and in San Francisco, winds sent a crane spinning around and around, which was captured on video. 

In Geyserville, downed power lines sparked a brush fire that burned up to 15 acres just off Geysers Resort Road.

In San Mateo County, authorities closed off the area of Pescadero Creek Road because of the downed lines and trees.  

Doors rattled inside homes and the high pitch of the winds was unnerving, especially as authorities warned of possible fire danger, especially in light of the fact that it's been a relatively dry winter. 

"Of course we’re concerned about the dry conditions," said Shepley Schroth-Cary, fire chief of the Goldridge Fire District. "The wind is always a challenge."

And in fact, Cal Fire was battling seven fires in Santa Cruz County, including two new ones in Watsonville and Boulder Creek. Nearly half of them were burning in the CZU burn area from last year. 

The National Weather Service said to expect winds to last through Tuesday morning, tapering off later in the afternoon.