East Bay still recovering from latest storm, more power restored
BERKELEY, Calif. - Toppled trees. Power outages. Property damage. The cleanup and restoration efforts following the latest round of storms was ongoing in the East Bay Thursday.
Several roads in the Oakland Hills, including part of Skyline Drive were inaccessible because of large trees blocking access. It has also created challenges for utility crew trying to restore service.
PG&E estimates roughly 6,000 customers are still without power in the East Bay as of Thursday evening. 90% of Alameda County and 95% of Contra Costa County customers have had electricity restored, the utility said.
"This has been intolerable," El Cerrito resident Del Brown said. "This has been horrible to its highest point."
Brown has gone several days without power and said he’s recovering from surgery and medical conditions.
"I need the heat and all the things electrical for me to recover," he said.
For now, he is forced to wait just like many Berkeley small businesses. They were closed for yet another day because out an outage.
"it’s already been hard for small businesses with COVID to hang in there," Lava 9 manager Andrea Suess said. "Now, we’re losing business again, not being able to process credit cards and we have no lights."
In North Berkeley, neighbors have had no lights and no heat after a large tree took out power lines and smashed into a power pole.
"It smashed into a car, thank God nobody was hurt," Rita Gary said. "I have a number of neighbors whose basements have flooded and their sum pumps aren’t working."
Gary and other residents said they warned the City of Berkeley and utility companies before the storm that they feared some trees may toppled. They said they asked for the trees to be trimmed or removed but nothing was done.
"It seems like being preventionists doesn’t seem to be a priority," Kirk Cooper said. "Overall, just really frustrating."
Tree crews spent Wednesday removing the large logs, branches and debris. On Thursday, utility workers replaced the pole and began running new power lines.
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"It’s fantastic seeing the crews," Gary said. "I just wish they could have gotten here sooner."
PG&E said all electricity should be restored to nearly all East Bay customers by Thursday night or Friday.
But others are still dealing with property damage, caused by falling trees or whipping winds.
John Cox’s home in West Oakland was knocked from the brick foundation after a large tree blew over and struck the side.
"It felt like a boom like someone ran into the house or explosion or something," he said. "It just shoved it over."
The front porch shifted several feet away from the house and the gas and water lines snapped.
Cox said he doesn’t have insurance and is unsure how he will repair his home of 60+ years.
"I’m worried how I’m going to do it or what I’m going to do," he said. "I didn’t think it would happen to me."
Brooks Jarosz is a reporter for KTVU. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Facebook and Twitter @BrooksKTVU