SAN RAFAEL, Calif. - Before winds kicked up in the wee hours on Tuesday, there were a small clusters of homes in the Bay Area without power. But by the later afternoon, that number grew to hundreds of thousands of customers due to severe winds.
"So, a day of these gusty winds, sometimes gusts up to 80 mph can create storm damage and that's a challenge for our crews," said Pacific Gas and Electric spokesperson Megan McFarland.
On the top of Marin County's Wolfe Grade, where the altitude is only 270 feet, winds were blowing 30 mph plus gusts.
"I've never seen wind like that. We've lived in this canyon for almost 15 years in southern Marin," said Katie Lind.
Lind and her husband work from home. On Tuesday, a tree took out an entire power pole in their neighborhood.
"There are so many other components to a pole. There are transformers, fuses, and conductors. So, those are all components that need to be repaired," said McFarland.
Repair work should be done around 10 p.m.
Matters could have been worse.
"We have a bunch of trees in this canyon. We've had a bunch of trees cleared out over the last couple of years in preparation for storms that come into this canyon. But the wind was unbelievable this morning," said Lind.
Long after rains subside, high winds will continue to topple stressed, drought-weakened limbs and trees, soaking in super-saturated soils that may not resist their weight.
"The winds sort of stand-alone," said McFarland.
In Santa Rosa, an early morning tree fall took out two power poles, cutting power to 277 customers.
In San Rafael, power lines arced when a tree limb fell onto a power line causing an outage and street closure on Mountain View Road.
After the vegetation was removed, significant repairs were needed to restore power.
"We have brought in crews from other areas that are less impacted. We've also brought in more contract crews," said PG&E's McFarland.