Expert on Calif. storm: ‘Never seen anything quite like it’ At least one person was killed as a wet and windy storm arrived in California on Tuesday, delivering more rain, snow and hazards to residents of the Golden State on the second day of spring.
The person, who has not been identified, was killed when a tree fell onto a vehicle on Alpine Road in Portola Valley, according to the California Highway Patrol. Falling trees injured multiple people in the San Francisco Bay Area, some of them critically, San Francisco Fire Department spokesman Jonathan Baxter said Tuesday night.
The toll was reported as the low-pressure system rocked the Bay Area and the Central Coast, with widespread rain and damaging wind gusts snarling traffic, knocking glass out of skyscrapers and leaving tens of thousands without power.
The storm came in much stronger than expected, particularly in the southern half of the San Francisco Bay and Monterey Bay areas, UCLA climate scientist Daniel Swain said in a briefing Tuesday. He said the system had reached the benchmark for a phenomenon known as bombogenesis, or a “bomb cyclone,” which indicates a rapid drop in pressure.
Unlike an earlier bomb cyclone this winter — which occurred about 1,000 miles southwest of San Francisco — “this is very close to the coast,” Swain said. “So the impacts are actually more immediate and greater than they were back then.”
Baxter said his dispatch board had been lighting up with emergency calls: “It’s call after call after call after call.”
Mary Ellen Carroll, executive director of San Francisco’s Department of Emergency Management, said on Twitter that 911 was being inundated with so many calls that it was causing “long delays for pending calls.” She asked residents to use 311 for storm-related calls and save 911 for life-threatening emergencies.