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  • Randy Pench /

    Randy Pench Wind broke a branch on N Street near Sixth Street and it struck a car, one of the mishaps amid gusts up to 47 miles an hour Monday.

  • Renée C. Byer /

    A tree company worker, above, removes palm branches Monday from a sidewalk along Capitol Avenue near 23rd Street as high winds whip the trees' plumage. Renee C. Byer rbyer@

Wind storm causes minor damage in Sacramento area

Published: Tuesday, Apr. 9, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 1B
Last Modified: Tuesday, Apr. 9, 2013 - 7:52 am

High winds that downed tree limbs and power lines Monday will taper off today, although a northeast wind will continue to blow through the Sacramento Valley.

Today's forecast calls for winds of 12 to 15 mph, with gusts up to 25 mph, about half as strong as Monday, said Drew Peterson, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Sacramento.

The strongest gust in the Sacramento area Monday was 47 mph, recorded between 9 and 10 a.m. at Sacramento International Airport. Much of the wind damage in the region also occurred during the morning between about 9 and 11 a.m., Peterson said.

Power outages occurred throughout the region, but both the Sacramento Municipal Utility District and Pacific Gas and Electric Co. reported that power had been restored to a majority of affected customers by midafternoon.

Linda Tucker, a spokeswoman for the city of Sacramento, said tree damage from winds Sunday night and Monday was "not a record by any means." As of 3 p.m. Monday, city crews had received 38 calls regarding tree issues, she said. They reported that one tree needed to be removed because it lost half of its canopy. One case of a limb falling on a vehicle was reported.

Most calls involved downed limbs blocking streets or sidewalks, Tucker said.

Brittany McKannay, a PG&E spokeswoman, said that as of 3:45 p.m., about 170 customers in the Sacramento and Marysville areas were without power. One of the largest outages in the region occurred about 8 a.m. in Davis and affected 3,100 customers after winds broke a power pole. By midafternoon, power had been restored to all but 63 of those customers.

Davis police reported the intersection of Pole Line Road and Covell Boulevard was closed about 10 a.m. and remained closed to traffic most of the day while PG&E crews repaired power lines.

Sacramento Municipal Utility District customers were without electricity across a wide swath of the county at 10 a.m. Monday, including 245 customers in Orangevale and one in Florin. As of 4:30 p.m., SMUD reported 18 outages affecting 122 customers.

Some of the power failures were caused by circuit breakers tripping, which can happen when a short occurs as power lines slap together.

"Sometimes they re-close themselves," said SMUD spokesman Chris Capra. "When they don't, we have to send somebody out there to do it. Usually, one person with a small boom truck pops that back in and it is ready to go."

Capra said the dry weather should help prevent power poles from toppling or trees from being uprooted.

Both SMUD and PG&E reported having a full complement of crews ready to deal with problems created by the day's high winds. SMUD's lines can withstand 40- to 50-mph gusts. "It's when we get into 75 and 80 mph when we start to worry," Capra said.

Tucker of the city of Sacramento said the city's urban forest has withstood strong winds fairly well over the last three or four years since completion of citywide tree pruning.

"With proactive pruning," she said, "we've kept the damage that could happen from events like this down to a minimum."

City crews are dispatched to remove downed trees and limbs that obstruct streets and sidewalks. If the tree is privately owned, the property owner typically is responsible for any further cleanup, Tucker said.

If the tree is in the the city's right of way, crews will clear away obstructions and handle the cleanup. But if they get bogged down with calls, she said, they may return later to deal with the cleanup.

Although the winds are expected to continue today, a high temperature of 73 degrees is forecast for the Valley, with an overnight low around 51 degrees. Highs are expected to reach the low 80s Wednesday.

Call The Bee's Cathy Locke, (916) 321-5287.

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