SF’s Golden Gate Bridge Had Hurricane-Level Winds Yesterday

This week’s strong winds in San Francisco toppled trees in SoMa, snatched scones out of hands, and caused other headaches throughout the city.

Tuesday, February 21st, was one of the windiest days in the Bay Area… in years. According to the SF Bay Area chapter of the National Weather Service, wind gusts in excess of 35 mph were common in virtually every Bay Area county yesterday; wind speeds above 60 mph were recorded by SFO and parts of the East Bay.

Yesterday’s windstorms were so intense that buildings surrendered parts of their facades — pieces of construction that fell down to the sidewalks below, damaging cars and causing general mayhem. Trees bent like wet popsicle sticks, with one fallen tree leaving massive traffic delays near the Bay Bridge.

Screenshot of wind gusts recorded and posted on hobolink.com/public/GGBWestSidewalk.

But as powerful as those winds that brought down both organic and synthetic materials were, the sidewalks on the Golden Gate Bridge managed to record a wind speed applicable to a category 1 hurricane. That’s right: SF’s Golden Gate Bridge was swept with wind speeds in excess of 74 mph, which represents gusts observed in the aforenoted hurricane ranking. 

Along the western side of the Golden Gate Bridge, a gust recorded at 1 p.m. yesterday measured 76.1 mph — a wind speed capable of stripping shingles off a roof, causing siding damage, and even steering cars off course.

“Folks, we’re seeing a ton of strong wind reports: downed trees, roof damage, debris moving across roads, blowing sand that reduces visibility, and power outages,” tweeted the NWS Bay Area Tuesday as reports of fallen vegetation and property damage piled up. “With widespread impacts, power outages may last longer than a day. Be prepared with supplies!”

The weather agency reported earlier in the day that SFO had experienced wind gusts at over 68mph. This was cause for concern… and measured 8 mph less than wind speeds recorded at SF’s Golden Gate Bridge.

High winds — though not as extreme — are expected throughout the rest of today, Wednesday, February 22nd. Adding to The Elements, it looks like there’s a solid chance snow could fall in SF and elsewhere in the Bay Area overnight.

Bundle up and hold onto those pastries with a vice-like grip, babes.

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