Area cleans up from Wednesday storm, prepares for possible repeat Friday

Downed tree crushes midtown home

Juliet Musso said a toppled tree crushed her midtown home Wednesday on 27th Street between L Street and Capitol Avenue.
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Juliet Musso said a toppled tree crushed her midtown home Wednesday on 27th Street between L Street and Capitol Avenue.

Sacramento area residents and utility crews used Thursday’s lull between storms to clean up and take stock of damage inflicted by high winds that moved through the region Wednesday night, and which could resume on Friday.

Power outages and apparent storm-related problems forced closure of five area schools Thursday morning and cut communications to more than three dozen campuses in the Sacramento Unified School District, officials said.

Sacramento Municipal Utility District crews worked overnight through the day to restore power to neighborhoods where power lines were toppled by wind or falling trees. Sacramento officials reported Thursday morning that they had received 249 tree-related calls from Wednesday night’s storm. High winds and soggy soil were blamed for much of the damage

And maintenance crews cleared the remains of three historic trees at Capitol Park’s Civil War Memorial Grove that were knocked over in Wednesday’s storm. The trees were brought to the memorial site as saplings.

The weather forecast is for a possible encore on Friday.

“We’re preparing for Round 2,” said Johnnie Powell, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

A wind advisory has been issued for the Valley and foothills, effective from 1 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday, he said. Winds of 30 mph, with gusts up to 50 mph, are forecast, with the strongest winds expected during the Friday morning commute, Powell said.

“Hopefully, we’ll stay out of the 60 mph range,” he said. Wind gusts Wednesday night reached speeds of more than 60 mph at Sacramento International Airport.

A winter storm warning has been issued for the Sierra. Powell said 1 to 3 feet of new snow could fall above the 4,000-foot elevation by Saturday.

Another break in the weather is expected Saturday, before Round 3, which is expected to arrive late Saturday night and continue through Monday.

Wednesday’s storm wreaked plenty of havoc all by itself.

At the state Capitol, the damaged Civil War Memorial Grove was established in 1897 to commemorate those who fought in the Civil War, said Ken Cooley, chairman of the Assembly Rules Committee.

Trees that fell included a box elder from Missionary Ridge, Tenn., and a tulip tree from Five Forks, Va. The trees came from the sites of Southern battlefields and were planted at Capitol Park in 1897.

The third tree that fell, an American elm, was brought from McKinley’s Tomb in Ohio in 1902 to honor William McKinley, the last president to serve in the Civil War, Cooley said.

Brian Ferguson, deputy director for the Department of General Services, said the trees fell about 6 p.m. Crews were up at dawn to clear the pile of branches and debris left behind. Two park benches were damaged by the trees.

Maria Lopez, spokeswoman for the Sacramento Unified School District, said power outages closed Golden Empire and O.W. Erlewine elementary schools in Rosemont for the day as well as an adult school, Charles A. Jones Career and Education Center in south Sacramento. A third elementary school in the Rosemont neighborhood, Isador Cohen Elementary, closed temporarily but reopened by midmorning.

Lopez said Crocker Riverside Elementary in Land Park also was closed due to a water outage in the neighborhood. She said the school would be open to students Friday.

Sacramento resident Juliet Musso surveyed the structural damage to her home on 27th Street, between L Street and Capitol Avenue, that occurred when a tree fell about 7:30 p.m. Wednesday.

She and her family were attending her son’s wrestling match at Christian Brothers High School when winds whipped through the area. Musso said she went home early because she was concerned about power outages. She arrived to find a tree had fallen onto her front porch and a bathroom.

“You worry about earthquakes, but you never think a tree is going to fall on your house,” she said.

Cathy Locke: 916-321-5287, @lockecathy

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