Tuesday Mar 03 2009
Weather wreaks havoc
By: Gloria Beverage
Tree knocks out power to 900 customers
After two days of nearly steady rainfall, residents are beginning to feel the effects. A large tree toppled into power lines on Canyon Way near Siems Way knocking out power to nearly 900 residents early Tuesday morning. The outage started at 12:30 a.m., but PG&E managed to restore power to nearly 700 customers by 2:30 a.m. “In most cases we’re able to reroute power around the damaged infrastructure so power can be restored to the majority of customers relatively quickly,” explained PG&E spokesman Brian Swanson. “Customers closest to the outage typically have to wait until we make repairs.” Colfax Public Works crews closed the road where the power lines had fallen while PG&E crews replaced the broken pole. Crews should have power restored by 5:30 p.m., Swanson said. He advised residents to be prepared for possible outages over the next few days as additional rainstorms hit the area. Have fresh batteries on hand for flashlights and radios, he advised. “We don’t recommend using candles due to the fire danger,” Swanson said. “We also remind customers if they see a downed power line to always assume is carrying electricity. Stay away and keep others away from it. Call 911 and PG&E immediately.” PG&E crews are being mobilized to respond to outages wherever they occur, he said. To report an outage or for information on an outage, call PG&E’s information line at 1-800-743-5002. Traffic on Interstate 80 was being held at Applegate late Tuesday afternoon to give California Highway Patrol officrs time to clear numerous accidents over Donner Summit, reported CHP spokesman Mike Pugh. Several big rigs and vehicles spun out of control during Tuesday's storm creating hazardous conditions on the highway. "Caltrans is going up and plowing the road," Pugh said. "And tow trucks are pulling cars out of ditches." Pugh urges travelers to avoid traveling over the summit until the storm has passed.