Strongest offshore wind event strikes San Francisco, leaves overnight damages

3 mins read

The National Weather Service said San Francisco Bay Area experienced windy conditions on Monday morning, and the northerly offshore winds can peak and can hit top accelerations twice Monday.

“They’ll peak this morning at some point from now through 11 a.m.,” weather service forecaster Anna Schneider said, adding that the wind will calm after 11 a.m. “And then we’re getting another peak around 5 p.m.”

The Bay Area’s wildfire risk has increased due to the breezy situations and the red flag warning was put in place for the East Bay hills and North Bay Mountains until Tuesday, 5 p.m. Sustained winds can reach 30 mph and isolated gusts can hit 60 mph, according to the forecast.

The whole region is also under wind advisory until 9 p.m. Monday. Officials cautioned that strong winds could hit the Bay Bridge and the Golden Gate Bridge.

Top wind speeds were logged by the weather service at 49 mph on Mount Diablo; 42 mph above Mount St. Helena; and 41 mph at the Santa Rosa Airport as of 6 a.m. on Monday.

Three vehicles and a home were reported destroyed overnight, Cal Fire said, citing the toppled trees in El Granada community on the San Mateo Coast.

The weather system called an inside slider was behind the strong winds. “Unlike systems that come in from the ocean, this system will come in from the interior,” Geri Diaz, weather service forecaster, said.

Diaz said that high amounts of moisture are commonly from systems from the Pacific Ocean. “This air is drier and comes from farther north, traveling over land rather than traveling over water. It’s a classic setup for this time of the year.”

Cindy Palmer, the weather service forecaster, said that the offshore wind event will be the strongest in the region in 2021. This is despite the fact that the winds seem not to be as intense during a number of the latest damaging North Bay fires like the Sonoma and Napa Counties fires in 2017, the Kincade Fire in 2019, and the Glass Fire last year, SFGATE reported.

“This is a respectable wind event. It’s nothing to blink at. We are looking at frequent gusts of 40 to 50 mph, locally we could see gusts of 60 mph. It wouldn’t surprise me if Mount Diablo and Mount St. Helena pushed 70 mph,” Palmer said.

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