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Placer mops up after weekend wind, rainstorm

Still a handful of power outages in the Auburn area on Monday
By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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AUBURN CA - Efforts were in overdrive Monday to clean up the damage a series of three storms from Tuesday to Sunday wreaked on the Auburn area and much of Northern California.

The final round of wind and rain stormed through overnight Sunday and blue skies were back Monday. Seven inches of rain fell on Auburn starting Tuesday, including an estimated four inches Saturday and Sunday. That created isolated flooding. Strong, gusting winds knocked down trees, which in turn, caused a series of power outages.

The number of customers without power peaked at 10 a.m. Sunday, with 125,000 out throughout the Northern California region covered by Pacific Gas & Electric, corporate spokeswoman Brandi Ehlers said Monday.

In Auburn, 7,500 customers lost power over the weekend because of 67 different outages, Ehlers said. Of that total, 400 were off the electrical grid for extended periods of between 8 and 24 hours, she said.

By mid-day Monday, PG&E still had about 10 customers out in Auburn. They were in the rural Mount Vernon Road area, west of Auburn. Ehlers said they lost power at 2 p.m. Sunday and were expected to have it restored by 6 p.m. Monday.

Falling trees were blamed for much of the electrical outages.

“Wind is our biggest enemy,” Ehlers said. “There were reports of winds reaching 87 mph in Oroville.”

One of the rural areas hardest hit was the Applegate area on the Interstate 80, where four different outages affected 1,100 customers, she said.

Among the power cuts occurring was one along Applegate Road caused by the downing of a giant evergreen tree that blocked the road. By Monday, huge logs had been cut by a Placer County Public Works Department crew and the road was open again.

Kevin Taber, public works engineering manager, said crews were describing that particular tree as the “King Kong” of the downed limbs reported over the weekend. Sections were three feet wide.

Public Works crews were busy throughout the weekend cleaning up brush and branches littering roads. On Monday, work with a brush chipper continued, he said.

Flooding occurred along Applegate and other roads in the area. Some of the hardest-hit areas were downstream from Auburn, including Granite Bay, Walerga Road and Dry Creek in the Roseville area, Taber said.

“Crews were working around the clock to keep drainage inlets open,” he said. “But, all things considered, we fared pretty well. The saving grace was that the storm let up in the early afternoon on Sunday.”