Power outages, fallen trees reported in Palo Alto

Flash-flood warning lifted for Santa Clara County

A storm moving through the Bay Area on Sunday resulted in fallen tree branches on the Caltrain tracks in Palo Alto, causing delays up to one hour, as well as minor power outages.

Caltrain crews were working to remove large tree branches that fell on the tracks late Sunday morning, closing one track. The branches were removed before 1 p.m. with trains authorized to resume maximum speeds, Caltrain tweeted.

Police tweeted around 1:30 p.m. that a downed tree was blocking eastbound University Avenue at Hale Street and to expect delays.

The city's Utilities department was also working to address two "minor" power outages on Sunday, one reported in the area of El Camino Real and Portage Avenue and another near the intersections of Charleston Road, Fabian Way and San Antonio Road, Communications Manager Catherine Elvert told the Weekly just before noon. Traffic lights were also down at the El Camino and Portage intersection.

The outages affected about 200 residents, the utilities department tweeted. Power in the El Camino Real area was restored by the early afternoon. The department estimated power would be restored to the Greenmeadow, Middlefield and Montrose area around 7 p.m.

More residents were without power Monday morning, with the city's online outage map showing 858 residents affected by an outage in the Duveneck, Midtown, and Triple El neighborhood areas.

"We had a # of power outages yesterday, through the night and into this morning due to storm, wind and trees on wires," Palo Alto Utilities posted on its Facebook page Monday morning. "Crews still working hard to bring power back to all, though almost all the City has been restored."

For updates, check the utilities department's Twitter page.

Residents can report outages by calling 650-496-6914.

Elvert said utilities staff have been on regular conference calls with the National Weather Service and neighboring cities to keep tabs on the storm and coordinate any response.

What was "expected to be the biggest storm to hit the Bay Area so far this season," as the city wrote on an online storm-information page, seems to have calmed for the time being. A flash-flood warning that was in effect earlier from Santa Clara County has been lifted, Elvert said, and is now a less serious flash-flood watch. A wind advisory is still in effect for the Bay Area through 3 p.m.

The National Weather Service is predicting showers in Palo Alto on Sunday night, with 90 percent chance of precipitation and gusts as high as 31 miles per hour.

"We may not get hit quite as hard as was originally anticipated… but we are being very vigilant," Elvert said.

Residents can also monitor creek levels on Palo Alto's Creek Monitor page or on the Flood Early Warning System from the San Francisquito Creek Joint Powers Authority, the agency charged with containing flooding from the creek.

Residents who wish to report things like storm drains and fallen leaves are asked to call the Police Department's dispatch center at 650-329-2413.

In the event of an emergency, the city's Emergency Operations Center will be activated and a map of major incidents, including flooding, downed wires and roadway debris, will be available and updated as possible at


Follow the Palo Alto Weekly/Palo Alto Online on Twitter @PaloAltoWeekly and Facebook for breaking news, local events, photos, videos and more.


9 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Downtown North
on Jan 8, 2017 at 1:47 pm

Where were the tree branches on the train tracks? Glad this happened on a weekend when trains are running slower and stopping at all the stations. This could have been a major safety issue if it happened during rush hour when there are many express trains. Do trees near the train tracks need to be removed?

9 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 8, 2017 at 2:36 pm

About time we had all our power underground. Any time it rains somewhere in Palo Alto, some of us lose power. Worse than a third world country.

40 people like this
Posted by Reader
a resident of another community
on Jan 8, 2017 at 3:52 pm

@resident (of Downtown North):

Do you realize that if the City of Palo Alto removed all trees that could potentially cause damage, it would probably strip the city of 90% of its trees?

The oxygen we breathe comes from trees. There needs to be some level of thoughtful balance between the need for public safety and what the planet needs in terms of a sustainable ecology.

[Portion removed.]

5 people like this
Posted by qqpa
a resident of Barron Park
on Jan 8, 2017 at 10:06 pm

Algae is where it is at for oxygen production on Earth.

Web Link


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