Gusty winds in Berkeley today brought down trees on both Henry Street and Bonita Avenue this morning, and the National Weather Service has issued a red flag warning from 10 p.m. tonight to 8:00 a.m. Tuesday, with local gusts expected up to 25 m.p.h.
According to the Berkeley Fire Department, the winds call for heightened alertness of fire danger, particularly in the East Bay hills.
“We are aware of the wind, and because of the dryness of the year we’ve had, we still have a hazardous fire season in effect,” Avery Webb, deputy chief in the Berkeley Fire Department, said. “In a normal year, within the first two weeks of November we generally declare a close to fire season.”
Webb said that the fire season has never extended so late since he joined the department in 1985.
“Any time we get reports of smoke or fire in the hill area we will send lots of resources,” he said. “We’re operating very similarly to the way we operate in the summer. We haven’t upstaffed or anything, but we’re being very aware.”
The most recent windstorm in Berkeley, on Nov. 21 last year, resulted in many downed trees and power outages.
Although the National Weather Service did not issue an alert about today’s winds, Berkeleyside readers were experiencing its impact. At 9:30 a.m., Aneli Rufus tweeted: “…It feels like a gale right now. Roaring winds woke me up at 5 a.m…. I keep thinking we will have a power outage!” Also on Twitter, shortly before noon, Todd Wagner wrote: “Watching the wheeled recycling cans roll down the street past my office window like a wind power chariot race.”
Berkeley residents assess damage caused by high winds (11.22.13)
High winds wreak havoc around Berkeley (11.21.13)