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High Winds Wreak Havoc on Bay Area

Two people dead as responders struggle to respond to calls for fallen trees, downed power lines and fires

Posted 11pm Thursday

Two people were killed Thursday evening in wind-related accidents in the Bay Area, including a driver crushed by a falling tree and a person struck by a downed power line. 

Extreme winds throughout the region left thousands without power, brought down trees and made extinguishing fires difficult.

The first fatality occurred in Oakland at 8:36 p.m. when a falling free killed a driver on Skyline Boulevard, Oakland police said. The victim was pronounced dead at the scene.

Another person was killed when a power line came down on Austin Street near Fruitvale Avenue in Oakland.

A wind advisory went out Thursday evening, warning about winds of between 20 and 35 mph in some areas, and gusts of up to 45 mph possible in the valleys. 

In Sonoma County, a downed tree and power line caused a grass fire at Napa Road and state Highway 12, along with fires in Oakland and Martinez that sent firefighters scrambling in an effort to control the quickly spreading blaze. 

About 25,000 PG&E customers were reported to be without power Thursday evening, most in Sonoma County.

In Petaluma, a tree also fell on a car driving on U.S. Highway 101 at the East Washington Avenue exit, blocking traffic and injuring an occupant of the car, the CHP said. The accident blocked one lane of the highway and responders called for a chainsaw to get the tree off the Honda, the CHP said.

Initial reports said that one occupant of the car may have suffered a back injury in the crash and an ambulance was called to the scene, the CHP said.

The collision scene also blocked the Lakeville Highway onramp to Highway 101, the CHP said.

Even BART was reporting 10-minute delays along its aboveground tracks because of the continued strong winds.

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