Brief break, more rain

A bulldozer works on clearing the rocks from a mudslide that

Gilroy
– The pot holes and power outages have vanished, but Gilroyans
should expect more rain showers responsible for some of their
holiday headaches.
Diana Henderson of the National Weather Service, in Monterey,
predicted 20
– 30 percent chance of showers Tuesday and Wednesday and a 60
percent chance of rain for Thursday through the weekend.
Gilroy – The pot holes and power outages have vanished, but Gilroyans should expect more rain showers responsible for some of their holiday headaches.

Diana Henderson of the National Weather Service, in Monterey, predicted 20 – 30 percent chance of showers Tuesday and Wednesday and a 60 percent chance of rain for Thursday through the weekend.

The city has already seen its share of wet weather in the last week, with 5.23 inches of rain recorded since last Thursday at the city’s weather station at Chestnut Fire Station. Since the beginning of the rain season on July 1, Gilroy has had 13.33 inches of rainfall.

Henderson said no records have been broken and that area’s rainfall numbers are “normal,” but that was little consolation to some local residents.

Since last week, motorists in Gilroy’s northwest quadrant have had to negotiate a pothole obstacle course, caused by heavy rains that loosened freshly laid “base rock,” according City Transportation Engineer Don Dey. The worst conditions were at the site of ongoing road construction at the intersection of Santa Teresa Boulevard and Longmeadow Road, although potholes also cropped up at the corner of First and Church streets, where PG&E crews have yet to finish surfacing the road after replacing gas lines.

Dey expected road repairs that began over the weekend to be completed by today.

The city’s northwest quadrant also suffered a power outage New Year’s Eve that left about 90 people without electricity well into the afternoon on the first day of the new year.

The outage began shortly after 8am Friday morning and knocked out power to 275 homes, PG&E spokesman Brian Swanson said. The outage was not caused by the weather, but by malfunctioning power lines underground. Problems in underground lines typically take longer to diagnose and repair than above ground lines, Swanson said. And while the problem was not directly caused by weather, a week of storms slowed the utility’s response time.

“Our crews were stretched thin last week because of the weather;” Swanson said.

PG&E crews restored electricity by 2:20pm Jan. 1 to 90 homes that spent the New Year without lights.

Weather problems also occurred in nearby Hollister, where heavy rains caused a Friday afternoon mudslide off Panoche Road. The mudslide continued to flow through the weekend and had covered the entire width of the road with debris by Monday.

The county closed the stretch of road Friday, but according to County Administrative Officer Gil Solorio, the blocked-off section of the road was still seeing some traffic as drivers pulled their cars up onto the shoulder of the road and around the heap of rocks and mud.

Crews will need another two days to bulldoze the debris out of the area, according to Assistant Public Works Director Peter Corn. Because the land is still sliding down, however, he said he couldn’t say how much the clean-up would cost.

In southwest Morgan Hill, a large oak tree came crashing down across Oak Glen Avenue at about 10 am on New Year’s Day, but no one was injured. Three local accidents attributed in part to the weather and slick road conditions sent three motorists to the hospital over the weekend.

California has been battered over the past week by storms that have caused widespread street flooding and provided enough snow to keep skiers happy.

Average yearly rainfall totals, measured from July 1 to June 30, have already been surpassed in some areas.

Some ski resorts in the Lake Tahoe area reported as much as 9 feet of snow since late last week.

“This certainly is the most significant series of storms that I’ve experienced here. It’s pretty much been nonstop,” said California Highway Patrol Sgt. Jon Dietrich.

One man died in the San Fernando Valley when his car went off a road and slammed into a palm tree and another man was killed in Pomona when he tried to run across the San Bernardino Freeway and was struck by two vehicles.

In Goleta, near Santa Barbara, surging high tides washed away tons of sand deposited last year as part of a $2 million preservation project. Most of the 80,000 cubic yards of sand used at the beach to help curb erosion has been swept away, leaving a jagged wall of sand and dirt, forcing officials to close part of the coastline as a safety precaution.

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