Winds wreak havoc across region |

Winds wreak havoc across region

Susan Wood
Jim Grant / Tahoe Daily Tribune / Meyers resident Greg Hall watches smoke billow from his home as firefighters extinguish the fire inside.

MEYERS – High winds on Wednesday knocked a tree onto a power line, sparking a house fire and adding to a power outage in the area.

The 75-foot lodgepole pine, which had been marked for cutting, fell at about 2 p.m. across Arrowhead Drive – blowing a transformer and knocking out power to 50 customers. Another 150 households were without electricity in Meyers on Wednesday afternoon.

Even though two power poles needed replacement, all households should have electricity restored today, Sierra Pacific Power reported.

The downed tree was one result of high winds that battered the region Wednesday.

Winds clocked as high as 120 mph over the Sierra Nevada ridges wreaked havoc in some neighborhoods. In the Spring Creek area, 100 customers also lost power from the wind.

The wind snapped a 30-foot pine tree at its base on Emerald Drive.

Heavenly Mountain Resort closed the higher chairlifts due to the strong winds. Heavy snow caused Camp Richardson Resort to close the Beacon Bar & Grill.

In Washoe Valley, a truck driver on Old Highway 395 was injured just before noon when he was hit head-on by the trailer of a passing semi blown into his path by the wind. The highway was closed following the accident.

Snow showers and strong winds are predicted to subside this week, with a slight chance of snow on Sunday, the National Weather Service reported.

In Meyers, the marked tree missed Kemper Hendrick’s home by about 30 feet but bent the power pole in front of Greg Hall’s 1723 Arrowhead Drive home, which filled with smoke.

Hall watched helplessly as firefighters knocked out his new windows and trudged through his remodeled interior. The specific point of the fire’s origin was not found, but Lake Valley firefighters were convinced it started in a back bedroom. No estimate of damage was given. The fire is under investigation.

“I can tell you that the entire house suffered damage from intense heat,” Lake Valley Fire Chief Brian Schafer said, adding this type of instance is rare. The power line had no contact point with the house.

Hall had just warned a man in the road that the tree was leaning. When it fell, he ran over to a neighbor’s house and saw his own fill with smoke.

Hall’s neighbor, Hendrick, interrupted his hair cut when a cell phone call from a friend who works for El Dorado County said a tree almost went into his house.

“I didn’t know what to think,” he said.

He ran home to find the commotion had drawn a crowd in the blowing snow.

“As much wind as we had, it wasn’t as bad as we thought it would be. We’re lucky the snow wasn’t collecting in the trees. We would have had poles dropping like bombs from the sky,” Sierra Pacific worker Joe Stahl said, surveying the damage on Arrowhead Drive.

– Susan Wood can be reached at (530) 542-8009 or via e-mail at

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