Five big rigs and a pickup truck were flipped over by high winds in the Altamont Pass late Sunday night, leaving the vehicles strewn about like fallen dominos and one driver with minor injuries, authorities said.
Winds whipping around a low pressure system triggered the gusts as high as 50 mph and brought the threat of isolated showers to the Bay Area on Monday.
Veteran driver Oscar Oxaca told KTVU that gusty winds are not unusual in the pass this time of year.
“You just have to be careful,” he said. “It’s the time of the year when the wind comes in. The season changes, the storms come in and it narrows down in the pass. You suddenly get hit with a lot of wind.”
All around the Bay, the winds caused problems.
In Antioch, a father and his 1 1/2-year-old son who were lying on a bed barely escaped serious injuries when a tree came crashing through the roof of their home on 6th and L streets around 6:30 p.m.
The man was taken to the hospital with injuries to his arms and back; the child was unharmed.
“I saw his shirt ripped off and I saw the big stick… And I was scared,” said Marisol Sanchez, the child’s mother. “I was freaked out.”
Crews had removed the tree from the residence hours later and a contractor was on scene, patching the hole.
Those gusty winds also blew down scaffolding in Emeryville, in front of a Forever 21 and Victoria’s Secret store on Bay Street.
The scaffolding fell across the sidewalk and several cars.
In San Francisco, city Public Works officials reported a number of calls for downed trees at locations including Van Ness Avenue and Pine Street, Valencia and 20th streets and Third and 20th streets.
At the storm’s height, Pacific Gas & Electric reported that over 17,000 customers were without power because of downed utility lines. By dawn, the number was under 2,000 as the winds died down.
Meanwhile, high wind warnings were posted for many local bridges at the start of the morning commute.
The KTVU Weather Team was forecasting blustery conditions with westerly winds of 15 to 25 mph Sunday evening to continue through early Monday. Gusts of up to 35 mph were possible, according to the forecast.
On Sunday evening, officials reported some gusts exceeding 50 mph at San Francisco and Oakland international airports.
The strongest winds were expected to be felt Sunday night near the coast and on the eastern slopes of mountain ranges. Areas above 2000 feet could see gusts of up to 45 mph for a few hours Sunday night, according to weather service officials.