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July 2, 2013
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2 wrecks snarl traffic, cause widespread power outages

Two separate single-vehicle crashes Tuesday morning snarled traffic for hours and took out power to hundreds of customers in Nevada County.

The power outages came on one of the hottest days of the year, as the temperature gauge hit 100 degrees by mid-afternoon, coupled with unseasonable humidity.

A vehicle crashed into a power pole and came to rest upside-down at 7:35 a.m. at Magnolia and Combie roads, according to the California Highway Patrol website. A second vehicle also crashed after it swerved to avoid the accident.

The CHP reported that the crash, which resulted in no serious injuries, blocked access to Magnolia Road at Combie Road after it brought the power lines down on the road.

A detour was set up for westbound traffic from West Hacienda Drive to Golden Oaks to Brewer Road to Highway 49, and officers estimated the intersection would not be cleared until 5 p.m.

At one point, irate homeowners were reportedly closing the fire gates on Brewer Road, necessitating a change in the detour route, according to the CHP website.

PG&E workers were on scene to replace two poles; the poles are also used by the telephone company, which will participate in repairs.

Areas affected included the eastern part of Lake of the Pines, Lake of the Pines Ranchos and portions of Hacienda Drive, Magnolia Road and Dog Bar Road.

Earlier Tuesday morning, a vehicle hit a power pole just north of Shoshoni Trail Court on Highway 49 just after 7 a.m.. That accident caused a power outage in Nevada City that affected about 50 customers off Old Downieville Highway, Indian Flat Road and Cement Hill Road.

Power in the area was expected to be restored by 2:15 p.m., said PG&E spokeswoman Jana Morris.

No relief in sight yet from heat wave

The power outages added to the woes of those in the county already suffering from the 100-degree temperatures.

There’s no immediate relief in sight, according to the National Weather Service. Today’s high is also expected to hit 100 degrees, with heat index values as high as 105. The Fourth of July is expected to hit 101 degrees in Grass Valley, but temperatures are expected to drop to a high of 93 by Friday.

Local health officials are urging the public to take precautions to avoid heat illness. Everyone is urged to stay indoors where it is cool and drink plenty of water, and avoid strenuous outdoor activity or exercise. Temperatures in the direct sun are often 15 degrees higher than the actual temperature, said Victor Ferrera, head of Nevada County Office of Emergency Services.

Ferrera said Tuesday that his staff members have been doing “major outreach” in the last few days to ensure that no one in the county has a critical need in relation to the heat.

As of Tuesday afternoon, the county had not set up any “cooling centers,” but Ferrera said plans are in place in case such a need develops.

Staff from Social Services, Adult Protective Services and Behavioral Health all have been in contact with their clients, Ferrera said.

“We haven’t gotten any major issues that couldn’t be dealt with,” he said. “As of now, there doesn’t seem to be anyone in critical need. We also have been talking to the hospital and ambulance services, to see if there has been a spike in heat-related calls.”

Staff members also have checked in with senior centers and Meals on Wheels, Ferrera said.

Ferrera is advising those without air conditioning to visit cool places, and added the Nevada County Library is open and air-conditioned during business hours. Go to www.mynevada county.com/nc/library/Pages/Branch-Locations-and-Hours.aspx for current operating hours.

For more information, visit the Nevada County Office of Emergency Services at http://www.mynevadacounty.com/nc/igs/oes/Pages/Home.aspx or call 530-265-1515.

To contact Staff Writer Matthew Renda, email mrenda@theunion.com or 530-477-4239.


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The Union Updated Jul 19, 2013 02:37PM Published Jul 6, 2013 12:29AM Copyright 2013 The Union. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.