Recent storms have wreaked havoc on local neighborhoods, with flooding, downed trees and power outages. But what causes power outages, exactly?

“Physical damage to our infrastructure can come from a couple of different avenues,” said Denny Boyles, spokesperson for PG&E, speaking of the underlying reasons for power outages. “But If you had to pick one thing, it’s trees, then rising water, then standing water as rivers begin to swell.”

Strong winds cause trees to fall and strike power lines, while lines are also brought down by winds and cars hitting electric poles during rainy weather are frequent causes of power outages, Boyles said.

PG&E maintains power lines, transformers, switches, and other electrical equipment located underground in numerous locations throughout Stockton and the region.

“We’re starting to see extensive ground movement, and mudslides in the (Sierra) foothills area,” said Boyles. “Some of our structure is underground, and that complicates restoration.”

PG&E crews have struggled to get to some damaged areas to restore power. “We are trying to do restoration work as much as possible, but if it’s not safe, we will pull our crews.”

While power customers in the foothills are more prone to power outages, Boyles said, there are things all customers can do to be better prepared, Boyle said.

  • Consider installing a generator by a licensed electrician that is properly ventilated
  • Sign up for outage information at pge.com
  • Stay tuned to local officials, such as the city of Stockton’s storm website, stocktonca.gov/storm

“The most important thing is to listen to your local emergency leaders,” said Boyles.

The City of Stockton has been busy unclogging storm drains, removing felled trees, and removing debris from flooded streets. On Jan. 3, city officials closed all parks out of concern for weakened tree branches and roots causing trees to fall and potentially injuring citizens, according to the city’s website.

As of Wednesday afternoon, more than 2,100 Stockton residents remained without power, down from more than 7,000 on Monday, according to PG&E.

However, the City of Stockton reports that fewer than 400 residents remain without power. The discrepancy is because the city does not include unincorporated areas within its boundaries, said City of Stockton spokesperson Connie Cochran.

Some of the city’s hardest hit areas included: Bianchi Road at El Dorado Streets; Holman Road at Wakeman Drive (partial closure); Pacific Avenue between Benjamin Holt Drive and Lincoln Road (partial closure); Pacific Avenue at RIvara Road (partial closure), Willow Street at Monroe Street; and Wizard Avenue at Fremont Street, according to the city’s website.

The Stockton area is expected to see 1 to 2 inches of rain Friday and Saturday, with 25 to 40 mph winds expected. An additional 1 to 2 inches of rain is expected Sunday, also with 24 to 40 mph winds. A new storm system is expected to move in Tuesday and Wednesday, with drying out expected later in the week.

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