Red flag warning issued for parts of Berkeley; gusty winds expected in hills

A red flag warning has been issued for the East Bay Hills, including parts of Berkeley. Image: NWS

The National Weather Service has issued a red flag warning for the East Bay Hills, including parts of Berkeley, with gusty winds expected to increase the potential for fire danger in those areas later this week.

As a result, PG&E has announced a new wave of public safety power shutoffs predicted to affect more than 200,000 customers in 16 counties. Thus far, Alameda County is not on the list.

The areas of Berkeley covered by the red flag warning are near the city’s eastern border in the National Weather Service’s East Bay Hills zone. The zone extends from the Berkeley Hills to the east through most of Contra Costa County and south to about Gilroy.

The red flag warning for the East Bay Hills will be in effect from Wednesday at 3 p.m. until Thursday at 4 p.m., according to the latest information from the weather service. Warnings have also been issued in the North Bay and Santa Cruz mountains.


The National Weather Service issues these warnings when it anticipates the possibility of extreme fire behavior driven by low humidity as well as “gusty and potentially strong, damaging north to northeast winds.”

Spencer Tangen, a meteorologist with the weather service in the Bay Area, told Berkeleyside that the East Bay Hills zone includes areas above about 1,000 feet in elevation. People who live or work near that elevation should also take note.

“The wind doesn’t necessarily stop at 1,000 feet,” he said Tuesday. “If people are close to the boundary, they should also definitely be aware of their surroundings. If there are any gusty winds, that does mean the fire danger can be high.”

Parts of Berkeley that are in the East Bay Hills zone include areas around Claremont Canyon, Tunnel Road, the UC Berkeley campus and Grizzly Peak Boulevard from Park Hills Road north to Woodhaven Road.

According to the notice released Tuesday by the National Weather Service, “Warm and dry weather will develop by midday Wednesday. Strong north to northeast winds will then develop over the North Bay and spread southward over the East Bay and Santa Cruz Mountains Wednesday night into Thursday. Very low humidity will arrive with the strong offshore winds. The winds will ease by Thursday afternoon but very low humidity will persist right through Friday. Another even stronger wind event is forecast Saturday night into Sunday across the Bay Area that may bring another round of fire weather headlines.”

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