Wind-blown tree almost crushes The Union carrier |

Wind-blown tree almost crushes The Union carrier

Strong winds created havoc in western Nevada County this morning, knocking out power, snarling commuter traffic and downing trees, one of which almost killed a newspaper carrier for The Union.

Carrier Sheila Martin was out of her car in a driveway about 4:30 a.m. on Meadow View Drive in Peardale, when she heard a nearby tree creak.

“I turned and looked up and here it came right at me,” Martin said of the large oak. “I jumped out of the way. If I’d been in my car, I’d be dead.”

Martin didn’t even suffer a scratch but her Toyota Camry was flattened. She had just got it out of the shop Wednesday after spending $900 on repairs.

The carrier was in her backup driver’s driveway unloading papers when, “The whole tree came over. Usually I sit in her driveway and read my stop and start sheet, but I didn’t today because there wasn’t much on it,” Martin said.

Pacific Gas and Electric reported 5,400 customers were without electricity across the county at 9:20 a.m., due to a dozen instances of trees and limbs blown through power lines.

Crews were busy hoping to restore power by the late morning or early afternoon, according to PG&E spokesman Paul Moreno in Chico.

According to the California Highway Patrol, a tree fell into a power line at Lawrence Way and Norlene Way in Alta Sierra about 6:35 a.m., causing a small fire that redirected traffic and backed up school busses.

Another downed tree and power pole were reported by the CHP at 6:54 a.m. on Pamela Drive in Alta Sierra just east of Carrie Drive.

Traffic lights in mid-Grass Valley went out about 7:15 a.m., causing Nevada Union High School students to be late for school.

Another small blaze caused motorists to turn around at 7:45 a.m. at Dorsey Drive and Joerschke Drive as Grass Valley firefighters put it out.

A fender bender at East Main Street and Hughes Road at 7:50 a.m. also caused traffic to slow.

Commuters also had to dodge tree debris blown onto McCourtney Road about 8:15 a.m.

For more information on the windy weather, refer back to as the day progresses.

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