Wind blows part of roof off YMCA in Richmond

January 20, 2010 7:03:32 PM PST
Wednesday was not the best day for a swim, but nonetheless, when the morning's violent winds ripped a portion of the roof right off the top of the Hilltop YMCA in Richmond, prospective swimmers of the center's indoor pool had to change their plans.

"I was going to in the pool and one of the people that worked at the 'Y' told me the roof of the pool had been damaged," said Ed Roberts of Richmond.

It happened at about 8:30 a.m. and it cancelled all classes at the YMCA for the day.

There may not have been any working out inside, but crews worked outside to clean up the debris on the ground and in the trees. The wind gusts scattered insulation and crumpled aluminum roofing like paper.

"We're a little undermanned," admitted Parks and Recreations worker Luis Guerrero.

Across town in Richmond, other work crews struggled to handle the call volume. Trees had fallen into homes, knocking down wires and knocking out power.

"It's been like hell," Guerrreo said. "There's been a lot of branches and trees falling down all over the neighborhood."

In another neighborhood in the El Cerrito Hills, the currents looked roaring enough for white water rafting. In Pinole, there was nowhere else for the rain to go and it backed up sewage lines, sending what appeared to be raw sewage into the bay. The saturation in Alameda was enough to rip a tree's roots right out of the ground.

It definitely was not a good day for a swim.

"I'll have to go jump in the creek down there or something, I guess," Roberts said laughingly.

The YMCA plans to re-open by tomorrow.