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article imageHigh winds bring destruction, inconvenience to Bay Area

By Nathan Salant     Dec 31, 2014 in Environment
San Francisco - High winds knocked over trees, blocked freeways and snarled transit around the San Francisco Bay Area on Tuesday as a mostly dry storm from the Pacific Northwest swept through the region and headed south.
Winds that reached 62 mph in the Oakland Hills and 64 on Mount Diablo wrecked Tuesday evening’s commute for thousands as trees fell into freeways and onto BART tracks.
Lanes in both directions of Interstate 80 in Vallejo and northbound lanes of Interstate 238 in San Leandro had to closed for hours while work crews cleaned up the mess, according to the San Francisco Chronicle newspaper.
A falling tree started a small fire along Interstate 80 in Vallejo near the Admiral Callaghan offramp when it brought down power lines along the freeway, but traffic resumed after an hour.
Parts of the BART regional transit system had to shut down periodically during the day by falling tree limbs blocking railroad tracks in San Francisco, Concord, Hayward and Oakland, and the new BART connector service to Oakland Coliseum also had to be closed.
Most of the affected rail services were restored later in the evening,
Winds also reportedly felled trees in San Francisco, Oakland, Hayward, Foster City, Pleasant Hill, Woodside, Tiburon and Concord, causing power outages affecting more than 50,000 customers.
“It was a very dry storm; we didn’t have any rain with it, but it’s bringing colder weather and windy conditions,” forecaster Logan Johnson of the National Weather Service told the newspaper.
But snow was reported falling in the Sierra Nevada mountains at the California-Nevada border, the newspaper said.
High winds are expected to ease by Wednesday morning, Johnson said.
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