Strong wind gusts bring tree down on Bay Bridge and panels off SF high-rise
SAN FRANCISCO - Powerful wind gusts created chaos in San Francisco Tuesday, blowing a tree onto the Bay Bridge, ripping a roof off of a house, and toppling trees across the city.
There were many close calls.
Witnesses say two massive panels of metal fell onto parked cars from the top of the high-rise building that houses the San Francisco Public Utilities Building at 525 Golden Gate Avenue.
Moses Tafuna of San Pablo says his family was sitting inside their vehicle when one panel hit the back of their car.
"I was standing outside the embassy waiting for my cousin and I heard something like a big explosion," said Tafuna.
The woman in one car was inside when the metal shattered her car window.
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SFPUC spokesman John Cote said the panels came from the SFPUC building.
"These were severe winds, and this was an unfortunate situation. We're looking into exactly what happened, and we are taking steps to ensure the building is safe for people going by and for those inside," said Cote.
Across the city, a massive tree at the corner of Garfield Square Park at 25th Street and Harrison, came crashing down Tuesday, turning utility and power lines into a tangled mess. The cars beneath were smashed, but fortunately no one was inside.
David Wolf, a San Francisco resident who lives nearby says he lost his internet service.
"Working at home, and then I came outside to see what was going on at the intersection and there was a lot of PG&E equipment," said Wolf.
People nearby were among more than 7,000 San Francisco residents who lost power Tuesday.
San Francisco street crews working into the night were trying to catch up with all the calls for downed trees.
On Potrero Avenue near 24th Street tree limbs crashed onto Muni bus lines and destroyed a bus stop down the block from San Francisco General Hospital.
No one was hurt, but from 2pm, that block of Potrero was closed.
The winds caused choas all day.
Bay Bridge traffic came to a near standstill after a tree fell onto westbound lanes of interstate 80 right at the Yerba Buena tunnel.
The limbs hit one vehicle that was towed away. The driver was not injured but crews worked until 8pm to clear the debris.
"We're getting a lot of calls. In fact we've had 88 wind related calls, that's in addition to our normal 911 calls," said San Francisco Fire Department spokesman Capt. Jonathan Baxter.
Emergency crews called on the public to help.
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"If you have loose items please secure them so they don't fly into a person or cause a hazard," said Capt. Baxter.
Winds also ripped the roof off one home on Russia Avenue in the city's Excelsior District and blew it into another home across the street.
"I was in the bedroom up there in the corner I heard this noise, it was a big loud bang," said Allan Factora, san francisco
On South Van Ness a surveillance camera caught one giant tree crashing down into the parking lot Saint Mary and Saint Martha Church.
"I saw the tree first and then when I looked to make sure that everybody was ok, I saw my car all damaged," Ayelen Ledzma of San Francisco.
"Our arborists are working through the night. They're also on standby because it's going to continue," said Beth Rubenstein, the San Francisco Public Works Department's Deputy Director of Communications.
"It's really important you call 311 or use your 311 app, but if it's hitting an electric wire...or if there's a safety issue, call 911," said Rubenstein.