From staff and wire reports
Palo Alto utility crews are working to restore power in just about every part of town after a windstorm uprooted trees today.
At 3:55 p.m., the city updated its outage map to indicate that the power had come back on for a large number of residents and businesses.
While Palo Alto provides power to its residents, the surroudning area is served by PG&E, which reported that 61,967 customers were without electricity as of 3 p.m. Throughout the Bay Area, PG&E said it had 275,000 customers with no power.
PG&E’s numbers have climbed by more than 100,000 customers since 12:30 p.m.
The reason for the escalating outages is rain, accompanied by intense gusts that have led to downed trees and wires in every part of the Bay Area.
Winds of 74 mph have been clocked at San Francisco International Airport; 97 mph at Mount Umunhum in the Santa Cruz Mountains; 93 mph along Mines Road in the East Bay; and 71 mph in the Las Trampas and Oakland hills, said PG&E spokeswoman Megan McFarland.
“Elsewhere, widespread gusts 45-55 mph have been reported and will continue with isolated gusts 65+ mph possible through the Sacramento and northern San Joaquin Valleys, as well as along the Sierra foothills and over elevated terrain,” McFarland said.
In Redwood City, fallen power lines closed Woodside Road from Bay Road to Middlefield Road.
Highway 84 between Portola Road and Skyline Boulevard will be closed “indefinitely” to repair what’s described as “major roadway damage.”
Stoplights throughout the area have lost power. Authorities are telling motorists to treat such intersections as four-way stops.
Palo Alto has a $40 million surplus. We’ve got the money to underground our utilities. Why is only half of the city done?
Every CC mtg includes City Manager comments. Shikada should use the next one to inform us of the status of undergrounding. What is the cost? What is the cost of not doing it? Power outages have layers and layers of unanticipated costs and complications. Injuries, crushed homes, traffic impacts, business losses, dark and cold homes, schools closed, food loss, overtime pay for the field workers doing the repairs, missed meetings and appointments, interruptions of myriad types, cars that cannot be charged, pumps that cannot function, utility work that has to be deferred b/c utility personnel are busy dealing with the outages, dangerously tired field workers, etc. The list will be different with each outage, but it can easily get pretty long. And expensive. How undergrounding the wires isn’t a priority is a mystery to me.