High winds topple power lines | TahoeDailyTribune.com

High winds topple power lines

High wind snapped a Stateline pine tree in half Tuesday at 5 a.m.

The section of tree fell on power lines and broke three telephone poles along the road. Power was restored in the area by 8 a.m. to everyone except for two area motels, which were still without power at 4:30 p.m.

Sierra Pacific Power Company shut down about a two block section of Stateline and Manzanita Avenue Tuesday to install new poles and repair damage estimated to be $25,000. The three crews working said they will go through the night to finish the repair work.

“It broke and fell in the worst place in South Tahoe, we’ve got four circuits coming in here” said Smily Stahl, a Sierra Pacific foreman in charge of the repair. “They were gusting … to break that (tree) the wind had to be close to 100 mph.”

National Weather Service reported that on the west side of the lake, at the crest of the Sierra, winds exceeded 100 mph. Wind gusts recorded at Lake Tahoe Golf Course reached 40 mph.

“That’s not ordinarily enough to blow down trees,” said Jon Corey, National Weather Service forecaster. “That’s surprising that happening. Obviously there were some stronger winds.”

A strong wind gust also snapped a tree around 5 a.m. in Glenbrook, a gated community on U. S. Highway 50 just east of Cave Rock. A tree fell and broke a telephone pole, causing an estimated $10,000 to $15,000 in damage, Sierra Pacific Power said.

Jeff Matthews, senior utilities designer for the power company, said some Glenbrook residents were still without electricity Tuesday afternoon.

“It’s a major project,” Matthews said of the work necessary to fix downed poles. “They have to find a spot to isolate the wires to keep as many customers in power as possible.”

Sierra Pacific does have a tree trimming program that cuts down dead trees near pole and wires, but the tree that snapped on Stateline was not dead so there was no way to prevent the accident.

“Sometimes you get that rogue wind that just takes the trees out,” he said. “When it does happen it’s usually this time of year, usually right before winter.”

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