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Thousands of Nevada County homes without power; PG&E cites wind

The 75-foot tree sounded like a bus when it crashed to the ground Monday morning on Norlene Way in Alta Sierra.

John Lucas was inside his home around 10:15 a.m. when he heard a loud crack. He looked outside and watched as the massive tree in his front yard fell, he said.

“It was surreal,” Lucas added. “The noise it made — it was like a bus was coming through the house. It shook the ground.”

The felled tree knocked down two power lines — one of a handful of fallen trees and power poles that cut electricity to over about 2,000 PG&E customers across Nevada and neighboring counties.

The Norlene Way tree injured no one and appeared to have caused no damage to any buildings.

“It looks like it was uprooted,” said Grass Valley Fire Department Battalion Chief Steve Smith. “I don’t know if it was the wind. Sometimes the weight of oak trees — they’ll come down after awhile.”

According to PG&E, wind did affect trees and power poles in other spots. Over 1,000 customers in the North San Juan area had no power Monday morning because of a felled pole on Tyler Foote Road, though that number had dropped to almost 200 customers by 3:30 p.m.

“It impacted a transmission line,” said Brandi Merlo, with PG&E.

A downed tree on Dog Bar Road cut power to customers in that area. A majority had power restored by the afternoon.

Lucas, who moved to the Norlene Way property last year, still had no power that afternoon. Smith said PG&E had to cut power to Lucas’ home and his neighbor to fix the lines.

Lucas said he had three trees removed late last month for fear they could fall. Monday’s downed tree was a future candidate for removal.

“This wind right here,” he said as a large gust blew through. “Just this huge wind came up.”

To contact Staff Writer Alan Riquelmy, email ariquelmy@theunion.com or call 530-477-4239.


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