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Weather wreaks havoc: 1 dead, 'recommended evacuation' in Woodside after mudslide and widespread road closures

Power outages are spreading throughout the Peninsula Tuesday as atmospheric river brings rain, high winds
A tree fell on the 100 block of Nevada between Hopkins and Brewster

Residents at about 30 homes in Woodside are being recommended to evacuate Wednesday morning because of a mudslide in the area, according to the San Mateo County Sheriff's Office.

Shortly before 8 a.m., the Sheriff's Office issued a "highly recommended evacuation" for homes in the 600 to 800 block of Patrol Road.

Residents are asked to pack a "go bag" with essential items and to leave since they will not have access to emergency services once the roadway gives out completely.

An evacuation location has not been set up yet for residents affected by the mudslide.

High Winds

High winds throughout the Bay Area on Tuesday blew down multiple trees and knocked out power, causing cancellations and delays on public transit, the closures of some highways and roads, and safety hazards as arcing power lines hit land.

Point Potrero in Richmond logged the highest Bay Area winds at 88 mph, according to the National Weather Service as of 8:08 p.m. 

Los Gatos saw winds at 82 mph, Oakland International Airport and Mount Diablo logged winds at 74 mph in the East Bay, Napa saw gusts at 65 mph, San Francisco International Airport reached gusts of 64 mph, and the Monterey, Palo Alto and Watsonville airports all saw winds at up to 59 mph. 

"It's been a little windy, to say the very least!" quipped the National Weather Service on Twitter.

Storm claims life

A man died after a tree fell on his car at around 1:30 p.m. in Ladera, shortly after high winds and rain picked up Tuesday afternoon, March 21.

Javier Ivan Cruz Diaz, 29, of San Jose, was traveling eastbound on Alpine Road near La Cuesta Road when high winds knocked down a large tree that fell on his car, said CHP Officer David LaRock.

While crews were attempting to remove the man from the white van he was driving, three more trees fell in the same area, barely missing emergency crews and vehicles at the scene, according to Woodside Fire Protection District Fire Chief Rob Lindner and LaRock.

No one else was in the van with the man and no other injuries were reported, Linder said.

Medics pronounced the man dead at the scene after emergency responders removed large branches from the car to get to him.

The CHP doesn't have an estimated time of reopening west and eastbound lanes of Alpine Road west of Highway 280 to La Cuesta, LaRock said.

Redwood City Outages

Thousands of Redwood City residents were without power as fierce winds up to 60 mph and torrential rain from Tuesday's atmospheric river spiked across the Peninsula. PG&E customers in Farm Hill, Redwood Oaks, Woodside Plaza, North Fair Oaks, Friendly Acres and some areas of Stambaugh-Heller are without power in the latest string of storm-driven power outages in the Bay Area in recent weeks. At least 43,489 PG&E customers across the Peninsula are in the dark.

Pacific Gas & Electric said that Tuesday's storm was the 14th major storm event in their service area in the past 75 days and that last week’s storm was the most significant in terms of customer impact in the Bay Area since 1995.

 More than 76,000 PG&E customers around the Bay Area remained without power Wednesday afternoon after a storm this week brought rain and high winds to the region, according to the utility.

The majority of the outages were in the East Bay, where 41,657 customers were without power as of 1 p.m. Wednesday. There were also more than 24,500 customers affected along the Peninsula, more than 5,000 in San Francisco, 3,800 in the South Bay and 1,325 in the North Bay, PG&E officials said.

The storm that arrived in the Bay Area on Tuesday initially left more than 100,000 PG&E customers without power as winds exceeding 50 mph blew through the region.

There is no estimate yet for when all customers will have their power restored. PG&E officials said Wednesday they have more than 5,700 people responding to the outages and 20-plus helicopters doing damage assessments around the utility's coverage area.

Since a string of winter storms hit the region in late December, PG&E says crews have replaced 847 miles of wire, 4,940 power poles and have removed 13,263 trees that damaged the utility's infrastructure.

Stanford University Redwood City reported an outage around 7:30 p.m. Tuesday on Twitter, but then followed up to say that power had been restored but remained unstable. 

Airport and Transportation Delays

Bay Area airports have reported flight delays and cancellations Tuesday due to wet and windy weather conditions.

About 300 flights have been delayed, and 27 flights have been canceled at San Francisco International Airport. The delays at SFO average about 70 minutes.

Oakland International Airport has reported one canceled arrival and 24 delayed departures over 30 minutes.

San Francisco Bay Ferry services are suspended due to choppy waters. On Tuesday night, Caltrans shut down Highway 101 between Hillsdale and Ralston at 11 p.m. in both directions for 60 minutes while PG&E replaced wires.

Bay City News contributed to this report. 

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