Storm Causes Power Outages, Downs Trees

October 14, 2009 12:26:29 AM PDT
The valley's first storm was enough to test storm drains and send trees and branches to the ground. "It was raining real hard, the wind kicking real hard. In front of our house, we heard a loud noise, a crash. So we went outside and here was this tree lying in the middle of the street," said Jaime Padilla. In West Central Fresno, city crews spent the day trying to prevent flooding. They brought in a pump to remove standing water at Parkview and Belmont. In other areas of town, fire and P G and E crews stayed busy responding to downed power lines. At one point, there were 29,000 customers without power. Students at Gibson Elementary spent the entire day without electricity after a power pole near the school caught fire.

The power problems lasted into the night at homes and businesses across the city. Gigi's Italian Restaurant in Northeast Fresno lost power for two hours during dinner. During that time, the kitchen staff used tea lights to prepare the meals. "I have a little bad eyesight, so I was getting so close to the pans, to see if it was boiling. Because we couldn't see if it was boiling or not," said Pino Borrello.

The weather also put part of the state's power supply in jeopardy. Wind and rain knocked down a high voltage line in Moss Landing that supplies power to path 15 on the valley's west side. People throughout northern California were asked to conserve energy until 10 p.m.

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