Crews cleanup after powerful weekend storm

December 20, 2010 11:57:16 AM PST
Many Bay Area communities are dealing with power outages, toppled trees and minor flooding as a result of what happened over the weekend. Those problems could get worse come Tuesday.

Crews in San Anselmo are removing several 125 foot Eucalyptus trees that are in danger of falling on Spotless Cleaners on Red Hill Avenue. One tree fell Sunday night on the cleaners.

"It belongs to the neighbors in the back and we tried to work it out with them to remove it several years ago, but it never worked out, until now. Now everybody is cooperating to get it down," said Spotless Cleaners owner Alan Rasooli.

Tree remover Aaron Corbiere is keeping one eye on his crews in the trees and one eye on LIVE Doppler 7 radar maps.

"We are watching the Doppler radar off your guys website because if we have any yellow or red coming in, and we have any lightning strikes with them, we have the jibs up on the cranes and they have to come down immediately," said Corbiere.

One person enjoying the blue collar version of Cirque du Soleil is 7-year-old San Anselmo resident June Ellsworth-Yow. She lives just up the street and was home Sunday evening when the tree slid off the hillside and cut the power line.

"My electricity got cut down for a while and we had to use flashlights," said Ellsworth-Yow.

Tree remover Zachary Wilder says all of this can be minimized or avoided with a few precautions.

"If you have large stature trees like this on your property, I can't encourage you enough to have them regularly inspected by a certified arborist. So you don't get into this situation where we got traffic stopped and it costs extra compared to regular maintenance," said Wilder.

Officials in every Bay Area county say they expect many more trees to fall as the ground gets more saturated in the coming days.

In the town of Felton in Santa Cruz County overnight, saturated soil caused a tree to topple over, clipping power lines and damaging a garage. It turned out the lights for several nearby residents. Officials restored the power after one hour.

Avalanche danger in the Sierra

Avalanche danger in the Sierra Nevada is high, prompting the Forest Service to issue a warning for backcountry areas near Interstate 80. The weekend storm dumped heavy, wet snow on top of light, dry snow. That creates what the Forest Service calls an upside down snow pack that is prone to avalanches. The light snow underneath can't support the heavy snow on top.

Caltrans is plowing the major highways and may occasionally close sections of Highway 50 to conduct avalanche control near Echo Summit. But even I-80 drivers with 4-wheel drive have been struggling to make it through. Below the snow line there is also the danger of rock slides.

Mudslide causes closure in Southern California

A scenic stretch of Pacific Coast Highway west of Malibu has been closed because of a rock and mud slide as record rains soak Southern California.

The CHP says the highway was shut down at about 8:10 p.m. Sunday because of the slide near the border of Los Angeles and Ventura counties some 40 miles west of downtown Los Angeles. No one was hurt.


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