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The storm's aftermath

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Posted: Sunday, January 6, 2008 10:00 pm

Compared to other parts of California, San Joaquin County and Galt came out of the weekend's series of storms unscathed, despite howling winds on Friday and almost 3 inches of rain over a two-day period.

Although several trees tumbled to the ground, most emergency services and public works agencies reported few major problems Saturday and Sunday, especially considering the severity of the storms.

Except for Tuesday, when more rain is expected, the weather will be dry enough for city and county agencies to clean up debris and for residents to clean up their yards, according to AccuWeather, a private forecasting firm.

In the northern end of San Joaquin County, a woman was trapped in her car on Friday morning when a tree fell on a power line on Liberty Road between Elliott and Jack Tone roads, according to Liberty Fire Chief Stan Seifert.

And a single mother was without her only car when a tree smashed the roof and windows of her Honda Accord off Highway 26 east of Stockton.

Lodi rides out storm

In Lodi, crews were busy raking leaves from clogged storm drains on flooded streets on Saturday, said Police Lt. Virgil Monroe.

The biggest concern for Lodi officials was how full two of the city's catch basins were getting Friday night, said Streets Superintendent George Bradley. However, waters receded at the basins at Vinewood and DeBenedetti parks Friday night and Saturday morning.

Terry Martin uses a chainsaw to cut up a large branch that fell from a Redwood tree while his daughtger, Kelsie, 16, picks up smaller branches. Martin and his family were cleaning up debris from the weekend storm on Sunday afternoon at a dental office on Fairmont Avenue and Tokay Street. (Whitney Ramirez/News-Sentinel)

The eight basins began filling up again after nearly an inch of rain fell Saturday afternoon, but crews weren't needed. Pumps at Beckman, DeBenedetti and Salas parks were vacuuming the water from the ground, Bradley said.

"Friday night, we were hit pretty hard," Bradley said. "Our crews worked until 10 p.m. on traffic lights, storm drains, pumping and downed trees in the right-of-way."

Some 4,500 customers - or about one of six in the Lodi city limits lost their electricity on Friday. Most residents had their lights back on within two or three hours, although some had to wait until 10:45 p.m., said George Morrow, Lodi Electrical Utility director.

Most of the damage came from trees falling on power lines, Morrow said.

Friday evening, some 3,600 customers in Acampo and Lockeford lost power, but by mid-day Sunday, only 12 customers lacked electricity, said Nicole Tam, a spokeswoman from Pacific Gas and Electric. They were generally north of the Mokelumne River to Acampo Road and between Highway 99 and Davis Road.

"We are definitely in a restoration mode now," Tam said.

Trees fall in Galt parks

And in Galt, there were some isolated outages from Saturday's milder storm, said Dace Udris, a spokeswoman from the Sacramento Municipal Utility District. Parts of Galt lost power from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Friday. That shut down the Galt City Clerk's office, since it doesn't have back-up power like other parts of City Hall, City Clerk Liz Aguire said.

Meanwhile, a dozen trees fell to the ground in Galt city parks and a few landscaped medians, though none of them caused any damage, said Parks and Recreation Director Boyce Jeffries.

PG&E crews have worked around the clock during the weekend to restore electricity to more than 10,000 customers from Bakersfield to the Oregon border who were without service, Tam said. PG&E crews got some help from power agencies from as far as Montana, she added.

In Clements, a tree fell onto a house on Almond Street during the weekend, causing slight damage, Fire Chief Dave Ingrum said.

East of Stockton, a tree fell on top of a Honda Accord on Friday, causing $10,000 worth of damage, at a residence on Pinasco Road, off Highway 26, according to Randy Burns, a Waterloo-Morada firefighter.

People will have plenty of opportunities to clean up whatever mess Friday's and Saturday's storms left behind. The only rain expected this week will come on Tuesday, according to meteorologist Jon Pacheco of AccuWeather, a private forecasting firm.
"It's going to seem like nothing compared with what happened," Pacheco said Sunday afternoon.
The Lodi area can expect a quarter-inch to a half-inch of rain on Tuesday, he said.
That pales in comparison to Friday's two inches of rain and .96 inch on Saturday, according to Lodi fire station 3 on South Ham Lane.
Skies will be cloudy all week, and any fog that settles will be patchy, Pacheco said. The air remains too unstable for dense fog to settle into the area this week, he said.
Today's high will be about 47 degrees, with a low tonight of 38. It should be in the low 50s during the day the rest of the week and reach the 40-degree mark at night, according to AccuWeather.
Source: AccuWeather.

Homeowner Sandy Kelso said the tree came within inches of striking her home, specifically her bedroom, where she, her daughter and son-in-law were watching storm coverage on TV.

Kelso heard the tree strike the car, but didn't see it. She didn't want to even look outside. By Sunday, she was driving a rental car.

In Lodi on Sunday, Terry Martin was busy sawing up a sizable branch from a large redwood tree on dental office property at Tokay Street and Fairmont Avenue.

Martin, who provides maintenance service on the property, had come to the dental office Sunday morning to clear debris from the parking lot. That's when he discovered the large limb was down - large enough to resemble a tree in its own right.

Martin went home to get his chainsaw. He and his wife, Margie, along with their 16-year-old daughter, Kelsie, cleaned up strewn branches and other items.

Accidents up

Friday and Saturday's storms caused more accidents than normal, but there weren't any major injuries in San Joaquin County, according to California Highway Patrol spokesman Adrian Quintero.

Friday's two inches of rain, coupled with winds of up to 50 mph, resulted in 72 collisions throughout the county, which is about four times the norm for a Friday, Quintero said. On Saturday, there were 40 more crashes, three times the typical Saturday.

Kettleman Lane east of Lodi was closed for about an hour at Alpine Road due to a tree that fell, Quintero said.

Highway 99 was closed on Friday below the overpass between Fremont Street and Waterloo Road in Stockton due to flooding, Quintero said. Caltrans has generators to pump flood water off the roadway, but they didn't work at the time because the power was out there, Quintero said.

Contact reporter Ross Farrow at rossf@lodinews.com.

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  • posted at 3:37 am on Mon, Jan 7, 2008.


    Those parks were built and designed to be primarily catch basins for rain and flood water in the first place, as are many of the new "parks" in these new developments that are going to be built. Otherwise these "parks" would've been built on street level and not down in a big pit designed to hold water. Two of the parks in Southwest Gateway, I believe, aren't even going to have bathrooms required by the city for this same fact. What a rip off.

  • posted at 2:30 am on Mon, Jan 7, 2008.


    Finally, there is a local example of the effects of global warming. The polar ice caps are melting and the water levels in the catch basins go up! Thank you Al Gore!



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