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About 4K utilities customers lose power as strong winds pass through Palo Alto, taking down large trees

Original post made on Mar 21, 2023

Powerful winds have returned to Palo Alto, knocking out power for around 3,900 utilities customers this afternoon, according to the city's Utilities Department.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, March 21, 2023, 1:49 PM

Comments (11)

Posted by woodChuck
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 21, 2023 at 3:39 pm

woodChuck is a registered user.

Thanks God we can always at least depend on natural gas. Oh wait....

Posted by Native to the BAY
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 21, 2023 at 6:24 pm

Native to the BAY is a registered user.

My son came home from school: I am thinking mostly about the homeless right now not having anywhere to be dry.” Heart wrenching reality. Housing starved humans vulnerable to wind, rain, tree falls, downed wires, flooding.

You’d think we’d get some type of alert from the City of Palo Alto. That. It’s not safe to be out and about unless absolutely essential. Even just for crews to get to downed power lines, trees and clear storm drains. This is where literally the rubber hits the tow and why long commutes for low wage workers from all over BA is such a risk in California climate change. And of course there are no dry shelters for those who are shelter and housing starved,

Posted by MyFeelz
a resident of another community
on Mar 21, 2023 at 6:43 pm

MyFeelz is a registered user.

@Native to the Bay, many homeless people without RV's or cars are pretty savvy about finding shelter in a storm. But I agree with you, and I think we have become numb to seeing so many street people, we just "assume" they will be ok. Most of us should do the opposite and assume they will NOT be ok. I think in emergency situations like this some of the many empty public garage spaces should be allocated as "dry zones" and those zones should be put on the alerts. Many homeless have access to "free smartphones" and deserve to know where they can go and be welcomed and kept safe and warm.

Posted by felix
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 21, 2023 at 7:41 pm

felix is a registered user.

Thank you PA City utility workers.
Our power was off but you got it back in a mere 2 hours.
We appreciate your work.

Posted by Mondoman
a resident of Green Acres
on Mar 22, 2023 at 7:39 am

Mondoman is a registered user.

Power out around 7am Wednesday. Sounds like PA Utilities needs to embark on a power reliability effort like that Seattle did about 15 years ago when they had repeated wind-driven outages.

Posted by Bystander
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 22, 2023 at 8:30 am

Bystander is a registered user.

When this winter's storms are over (probably June at this rate), I would like to see a table of costs for overtime, supplies, for what our Utilities paid to repair, replace and get our power back. The workers have done a wonderful job in all weather and at all times of the day and night, but it must have been an expensive operation.

Against the costs, I would like to see a similar table of costs for maintenance and undergrounding.

I think it would be interesting to see just how expensive undergrounding would be against the reality of leaving our powerlines dangling among tree branches for another X number of years.

Posted by Mondoman
a resident of Green Acres
on Mar 22, 2023 at 8:41 am

Mondoman is a registered user.

Power back on after 90 minutes, then off again, then on again after another 5 minutes... :(

Posted by Mondoman
a resident of Green Acres
on Mar 22, 2023 at 8:44 am

Mondoman is a registered user.

I think undergrounding is really expensive because it also includes cable and telephone wires, transformers etc. I know in our neighborhood which was undergrounded 50 years ago, there city now wants to un-underground certain equipment and build ugly metal electrical cabinets in people's yards by the sidewalk.

Posted by Annette
a resident of College Terrace
on Mar 22, 2023 at 9:17 am

Annette is a registered user.

@MyFeelz - excellent idea about the garages; still lousy but so much better than the streets. Does anyone know if the churches are again doing the shelter program that offered overnight arrangements for women? And if it has expanded to include children and men? Neighbors supplied dinner and assisted with the set/up of mattresses each evening and the storing of mattresses in the morning.

@Bystander: excellent suggestion about seeing the cost of the current approach compared to the cost of undergrounding.

Posted by Consider Your Options.
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 22, 2023 at 2:22 pm

Consider Your Options. is a registered user.

That was a wild storm. Thanks City of Palo Alto Utilities for quick action getting the power back on. Much appreciated!

Posted by EmmaP
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 22, 2023 at 8:41 pm

EmmaP is a registered user.

@Annette Heart and Home Collaborative is still providing overnight shelter for women in the winter months though things have been different during the pandemic. It is looking for people willing to help and in particular to provide hot dinners (search for them online, I'm not sure posting a link is allowed). Note some juggling of location is taking place in the last few weeks so volunteers should check with the listed email about where exactly the shelter is.

Given the power of the storm I think the city utilities people did a good job in getting things working again so quickly.

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