Blustery winds hit Davis with a vengeance Monday, toppling trees, knocking out electricity and shutting down a major intersection for hours while utility crews repaired a broken power pole.
More than 3,200 PG&E customers lost power at about 8:15 a.m., when a downed tree fell into a power line near the intersection of East Covell Boulevard and Pole Line Road in Northeast Davis. The impact broke one pole and damaged another with major transmission lines into West Sacramento and beyond, PG&E spokesman Paul Moreno said.
Winds also contributed to two other local power outages — the first affecting 13 customers around Burnett Place in South Davis when two wires slapped together at about 9:15 a.m.; the second caused by a blown fuse on Villanova Drive between Lemon and Orange lanes, leaving 68 homes without electricity between 1:35 and 2:30 p.m., Moreno said.
But it was the Covell/Pole Line incident that had the greatest impact, resulting in the lengthy closure of that intersection as utility crews repaired the broken and damaged power poles. Most households had their power restored by 9:30 a.m., but as many as 55 were expected to remain without electricity until midnight, according to Moreno.
Monday also marked a busy day for the city’s Community Services Department, where employees began fielding reports of fallen trees and limbs at 8:30 a.m. and were still responding to scenes as the workday drew to a close.
Rob Cain, the city’s urban forest manager, said the wind caused two large trees to split in half in North Davis — one in a greenbelt area west of Hacienda Park, the other a 50-foot-tall oak tree near a children’s playground west of Baja Avenue.
“The tree split, and half of it fell onto the playground,” Cain said. A climbing area on the play structure was damaged, and Cain said the playground was expected to be closed through this morning while it is being repaired.
No injuries were reported. However, Cain said residents should take a moment to look in their neighborhood’s trees for any loose, hanging branches, and call the city’s Community Services Department at 530-757-5626 “to report anything that might look out of the ordinary.”
Elsewhere in Davis, several schools reported experiencing morning power outages, with phones also out in some cases. Affected schools included Harper and Holmes junior high schools and Birch Lane Elementary School.
Davis High School also experienced a brief power outage, but electricity had been restored by the time an email alert was sent to parents shortly after 9:30 a.m.
At the Holmes campus on Drexel Drive, the power went out shortly after the first bell rang at 8:08 a.m.
“We continued with school as normal. We just opened our windows and used the natural light,” Principal Derek Brothers said. Electricity was restored to the campus shortly after 9:30 a.m.
“We were good to go by the middle of second period. It didn’t disrupt our day,” Brothers said.
But the winds did impact the county’s roadways, particularly the causeway areas of Interstate 80 east of Davis and I-5 east of Woodland.
On northbound I-5, gusts flipped over a lightly loaded trailer being hauled by a pickup across the Elkhorn Causeway, California Highway Patrol Officer Cindy Leal reported. The incident blocked both lanes for about 20 minutes, but no injuries were reported.
CHP officers also responded to a rural neighborhood near Highway 113 and County Road 17A north of Woodland to provide traffic controls near a house fire. Leal said the fire began when a tree limb fell onto an electrical wire, sending both onto the roof of the home.
Farther north, the winds caused a power outage to the I-5 rest area in Dunnigan, shutting down both the northbound and southbound facilities for a time, according to the CHP’s online traffic information page.
Motorists traveling on I-80 near Mace Boulevard in Davis got a taste of the Old West during their morning commute, encountering tumbleweeds that blew onto the freeway, Leal said.
— Reach Lauren Keene at email@example.com or 530-747-8048. Follow her on Twitter at @laurenkeene