A tree fell on a house and upended the sidewalk at Berkeley Way and Grant Street in Berkeley on March 21, 2023. Credit: Kate Rauch

Editor’s note: Read our story published Wednesday morning for the latest news on the storm.

Over an inch of rain pelted parts of Berkeley while mile-a-minute wind gusts coaxed trees out of the earth Tuesday.

“There are currently a significant number of storm-related hazards occurring around Berkeley,” city police wrote in an electronic alert shortly before 5:30 p.m. “Berkeley Police and Fire departments have received multiple calls for trees and power lines down throughout the city.”

Tens of thousands of Pacific Gas and Electric Co. customers in and around Berkeley had no power as of Tuesday evening, according to the utility’s outage map.

A branch fell in Central Berkeley on March 21, 2023. Credit: Zac Farber

Photos submitted to Berkeleyside from around the city showed limbs and entire trees down in roadways and water pooling on city streets.

Public safety officials, busy with storm response, were not immediately able to say how much damage the storm may have caused, nor how many injuries.

The Berkeley Fire Department was receiving many calls for hazardous conditions “and will be busy for some time,” said Interim Deputy Fire Chief Keith May.

Berkeley fire investigates a downed tree and light pole between Virginia and Delaware streets on MLK Way in Berkeley on March 21, 2023. Credit: Charles Rauch

A weather station at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory recorded a 61 mph wind gust Tuesday, according to the National Weather Service. Downhill and nearer the San Francisco Bay, another weather station near San Pablo Avenue recorded a 45 mph gust.

The weather station at the lab reported 1.01 inches of rain in just 12 hours leading up to 6 p.m., with 0.74 inches falling in west Berkeley, according to the NWS.

A tree collapsed in the 1900 block of Delaware Street in Berkeley on March 21, 2023. Credit: Citizen journalist

The city was forecast to get between another tenth- and half-inch of rain overnight, and deal with more wind still, although the gusts were not forecast to break 40 mph.

Police said that, along with firefighters, they were working to respond to numerous calls for help. They advised anyone out in the weather to assume that any downed power lines are dangerous, and to report them immediately, that motorists not try to drive through standing water and to stay away from trees. They reminded motorists that, if a traffic light loses power, they should treat it as a four-way stop.

More rough weather is in the cards for Monday and Tuesday of next week, according to the weather service.

“Although it is still quite early, this system looks similar to this one, where the primary concerns will be strong and gusty winds as well as rain,” according to a forecast from NWS meteorologist Cynthia Palmer.

Trees bend to the strong winds in Berkeley on March 21, 2023. Credit: Citizen journalist
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Alex N. Gecan joined Berkeleyside in 2023 as a senior reporter covering public safety. He has covered criminal justice, courts and breaking and local news for The Middletown Press, Stamford Advocate and...