PG&E mobilizes extra crews as storm threatens to bring high wind gusts

Pacific Gas & Electric says they've mobilized more than 3,000 workers, including contractors and 16 mutual aid crews from other West Coast power companies to help with the storm system that is set to whip through Northern California starting Wednesday.

High wind alerts are set to begin Wednesday morning and continue through Thursday. Wind gusts predicted to reach 50-60 miles an hour could take down trees and power lines. The electric crews, inspectors and tree crews will be on 16-hour shifts during the storm.

On Tuesday evening, tree crews were working to remove trees and repair power poles ahead of the storm.

Along Pinehaven Road in the Oakland Hills, a 100-foot cedar tree was already threatening to topple over onto some high voltage lines.

Kristin Anderson, the homeowner, said she was leaving her house Tuesday and was shocked to see the front steps in her yard were broken.

"All of the concrete and the steps had pulled away from the dirt and I looked up and I saw that both trees were leaning down," said Anderson.

She said the tree had started to uproot overnight and was leaning right over the high voltage power lines along Pinehaven Road. She immediately called PG&E.

"The tree was like within a few feet of the high voltage lines." said Anderson, "I was really worried that it was just going to just topple down and it was going to hurt somebody or it was going to land on a car."

PG&E contractors were on the scene within an hour trying to cut the tree, limb by limb, until bigger equipment could take down the trunk. It was dangerous work and a race against the clock.

Three miles away in another part of the Oakland Hills, PG&E crews closed Moore Drive to repair a power pole that was snapped in half by a falling tree.

"I'm very scared about the storm coming up," said Larry Rosenthal, a resident who lives up the hill and has rental properties next to the power pole. He says two 80-foot trees from his neighbor's property uprooted and fell into his yard during the New Year's Eve storm.

Now he worries with the ground already soaked and the danger of high winds, more trees might topple over.

"There's a tree right across the street from me and which could fall anytime and if it does it could do major damage," said Rosenthal.

PG&E says if you do see a downed power line, assume that it is energized and call PG&E or 9-1-1 immediately.