Winds knock out power to Truckee; 134 mph gust at Mt. Rose (w/ updates) | SierraSun.com

Winds knock out power to Truckee; 134 mph gust at Mt. Rose (w/ updates)

UPDATE 2 p.m. Friday:

Truckee Donner Public Utility District spokesman Steven Poncelet said he expects power to be restored to most of Truckee by about 5 p.m.

In all, roughly 3,000 customers were without power since about 9:30 a.m., when winds blew down trees at the main Truckee substation, causing damage and cutting electricity across several grids in the town.

"We did have some damage to our Truckee substation that turned out to be more expensive that originally thought," Poncelet said. "Many of our distribution systems are down due to the many downed trees in the area. We're having trees snap and take out power lines.

"Some outages are isolated to a home or two, but others are more problematic."

An outage in the area of Donner Lake already has been restored, Poncelet said.

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As for Glenshire, since that outage stems from a different power supply than the substation, it's unclear when power may be restored there, he said.

Further, in terms of clarification, while the brush fire Friday morning did occur near the Truckee substation, the fire itself did not cause the outage there, Poncelet said.

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TRUCKEE, Calif. — Power is out across a good portion of Truckee due to a fire at the main electricity substation near the downtown lumber yard, an official said.

Steven Poncelet, spokesman for the Truckee Donner Public Utility District, said PUD, Truckee Police and Truckee Fire crews are investigating the exact cause of the fire that started at roughly 9:30 a.m., although high winds are likely to blame.

"We are aware that a good portion of Donner Pass Road and downtown Truckee is (without power)," said Poncelet, who added that "everything seems to be OK" at the substation in terms of surrounding vegetation.

No one was hurt in the incident.

"Please avoid the area as there (are) multiple emergency vehicles in the roadway," according to a statement issued at about 10:20 a.m. from Truckee Police. "There are no structures or neighborhoods being threatened at this time. The fire is contained by fire crews."

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READ MORE: The greater Reno-Tahoe-Carson region is under a high wind advisory until 4 a.m. Saturday as a wet Pacific storm moves into the area. Winds are expected to be strongest Friday afternoon and evening, with gusts of up to 70 mph possible.

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Several other areas of town, including the Pioneer Center, Prosser and Glenshire are also without power, due to the fire as well as high winds, according to text messages and emails to the Sierra Sun.

Sporadic outages also have been reported on Lake Tahoe's West Shore.

Poncelet said he did not have an estimated number of Truckee customers who are without power. Further, there is no estimated time as to when power will be restored.

According to the Associated Press and media reports, NV Energy reported more than 3,000 customers in Carson City and 7,000 in Reno-Sparks were without power at noon Friday as the winter storm blew into the area after a record high of 70 degrees in Reno the day before.

The National Weather Service says a 134 mph gust was recorded early Friday near Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe, which closed Friday along with Alpine Meadows and Northstar.

Wind damage, downed trees

The following message was sent at about noon: “Truckee Police and Fire are actively working to clear roadways following numerous down trees and power lines. Truckee Police, Fire, and Public Works are actively working to clear roadways following numerous down trees and power lines. There are numerous areas without power. Keep away from any power lines. Call Nevada County Dispatch at 530-550-2320 to report down trees or power lines.”

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At Tahoe, Liberty Utilities is reporting sporadic outages throughout the region. Here are some safety tips:

• Always treat low hanging and downed power lines as if they were energized.

• Call 911 or notify Liberty Utilities’ toll-free emergency number at 1-844-245-6868 if you see downed power lines or damaged electrical equipment.

• Secure outdoor furniture or other outdoor decorative items that can be blown away by high winds and damage power lines or your home.

• Keep your flashlights handy with fresh batteries in case of an outage. Do not use candles if possible.

• If you experience an outage, turn off all electrical appliances to avoid overloading circuits and to prevent fire hazards once the power is restored. Try not to open your refrigerator during the outage.