Strong winds that hit Napa on Friday morning contributed to trees and tree limbs falling into homes and power lines, causing multiple road closures and thousands of residents to be without power through the afternoon and into the evening.
At least 7,000 customers were affected by the outages throughout the day, said Deanna Contreras, PG&E spokeswoman. More than 30 outages affecting 1,200 customers were reported in the city at 3:30 p.m.
Many of the outages began after a redwood tree fell on Soscol Avenue north of Lincoln Avenue breaking two power poles, causing wires to come down and damaging equipment at about 11:15 a.m., Contreras said.
Soscol Avenue between Pueblo Avenue and La Homa Drive was reported closed due to the downed power lines at 1:40 p.m.
Contreras said that PG&E crews were working as quickly and safely as possible to get power restored as fast as possible.
“Trees falling into power lines is the number one cause for power outages in a storm like this,” Contreras said.
The office of the Napa Valley Register was among the affected businesses. Power was out most of the day Friday, disrupting computers and phones, though it was not expected to affect production of Saturday’s paper.
At least two trees fell onto residential structures, said Capt. Jason Berens, Napa City Fire.
Several homes on the 100 block of First Street were evacuated when a tree fell onto an unoccupied garage around 12:30 p.m., Berens said. Firefighters were still on scene at 4 p.m. standing by waiting for PG&E crews to come out for some downed power lines.
Berens said that city firefighters responded to 38 calls for service between 7 a.m. and 4 p.m. – eight were related to trees down or looking like they might fall down and another 14 were related to wires down or arching.
“These are the strongest winds that we’ve seen come through this winter,” said Brian Garcia, warning coordination meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Monterey. Peak gusts reached 46 mph in the area of Atlas Peak on Friday and ranged between 20-44 mph throughout Napa County, he said.
Garcia said that strong winds combined with saturated soil could have caused trees to be easily uprooted, especially if the were diseased, dead or stressed following five or more years of drought. He said to expect more trees to come down as another storm system moves into the Napa area Sunday and Monday.
There will be a few lingering showers on Saturday before the next system begins mid- to late-morning on Sunday, Garcia said. The rain will really start to “hammer” Napa County, though, early Monday morning.
The big concern, he said, is flooding in the area. Garcia said to expect anything that has flooded in the past seven to eight weeks to flood again.
Road closures due to trees that were either down or had fallen into power lines were also reported along the 2600 block of Atlas Peak Road, at Highway 12 and 121, along the 1300 block of Conn Valley Road, Wragg Canyon Road, First Avenue south of Hagen Road, Third Avenue, and Big Ranch Road at Salvador Avenue.