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Big storm. Big mess.

Submitted by on 1, October 13, 2009 – 4:54 pmNo Comment

1412Old Man Winter paid an early visit to the Bay Area today, and he wreaked havoc on the Island, flooding large swaths of roadway, downing power wires and tree limbs and contributing to a raft of power outages and auto accidents. (In our case, we had a lovely waterfall at the front door and a protective moat across the sidewalk out front.)

Some 2,800 East End customers lost their power at around 1:30 p.m. today, which Alameda Municipal Power spokesman Matt McCabe said were caused by the storm. McCabe said that about half the customers east of Pearl Street who lost power had gotten it restored by 2:51 p.m., and that all the power was restored by 5 p.m.

The utility also reported scattered outages in the 600 and 700 blocks of Pacific Avenue and the 1600 and 1700 blocks of Webster Street. Power to those areas went out around 2:30 p.m. and was restored by 4:30 p.m.

Alameda’s ferry systems shut down as a result of the inclement weather, and its operators were forced to scramble for buses to take their passengers to San Francisco and back to the Island, their General Manager, Ernest Sanchez, said.

The rain caused heavy flooding on Brush Street and on roads straddling the Posey Tube, Alameda Fire Division Chief Rick Zombeck said. He said the tube flooded as well, at about 12:30 p.m., after a water pump backed up. (It was clear and dry when I drove through, shortly after 2 p.m.)

He said the flooding next to the tube stranded several cars and one driver who had to be carried from their vehicle.

The tube had been shut minutes earlier following a single-car accident, Zombeck said. He said no one was injured in that accident or an earlier one in the tube, at 10:33 a.m.

“It was a busy day because of the weather,” Zombeck said.

The high winds also carpeted tree-lined streets with leaves and branches and felled some trees, including one on the 300 block of Central Avenue that blocked all four lanes of traffic.

Zombeck said he expects more flooding tonight, with the additional rain to come and a high tide after 8 p.m. He advised people who live in flood-prone areas to pick up some sandbags, adding that Alameda’s Public Works Department will give residents up to 10 free sandbags (they’re at 1616 Fortmann Way, and their hours are 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.).

The National Weather Service is predicting more rain tonight and heavy winds, with gusts of up to 65 MPH. A high wind warning is in effect until 11 p.m. tonight. Showers are possible for Wednesday.

They said the 24-hour rainfall total at Oakland International Airport, as of 5 p.m., was 2.37 inches.

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