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Storm update: Some Tri-Valley schools closed without power; large tree damages historic church

Staff across the region work to clear downed trees in several cities

Several schools across Pleasanton along with the Sunol Glen School had to close for the day as the Tri-Valley continues to experience power outages and downed trees due to the most recent atmospheric river storm.

The storm system that swept through the region on Tuesday produced strong and damaging winds with peak wind gusts hitting 72 to 73 miles per hour in Pleasanton and Livermore, according to the National Weather Service.

"Over the past day and a half, the city has received reports of 97 incidents including downed trees and power lines, damaged buildings, blocked roadways and traffic lights that were out," Pleasanton Communications Manager Heather Tiernan told Livermore Vine. "We deployed extra crews yesterday, but have been able to resume normal staffing today."

As of Wednesday afternoon, there were still roughly 3,000 residents in south Pleasanton in the areas of Shadow Cliffs and Bernal Avenue that were without power since noon Tuesday.

According to the PG&E outage center, the estimated restoration time was 6 p.m. Wednesday. 

Miles north in the unincorporated area of Alamo, roughly 1,670 customers were also without power since 10:30 a.m. Wednesday but it was expected to be restored around 7 p.m. the same night. 

In Pleasanton, Hearst Elementary, Vintage Hills Elementary and Pleasanton Middle School were all closed on Wednesday due to continued power outages that started Tuesday night.

According to the Pleasanton Unified School District's social media pages, all three schools first experienced the power outages on Tuesday including Mohr Elementary School -- which was not one of the schools that closed on Wednesday as they regained power in time.

All the other schools in the district remained open.

"We are still assessing damage caused by the high winds, which ranged from damaged sidewalks to roofing caused by fallen trees," PUSD Director of Communications Patrick Gannon said. "We're grateful to our maintenance team for their support in mitigating damage and to our families for their patience and support."

In Sunol, the Sunol Glen School also experienced a power outage Tuesday night according to Molleen Barnes, Sunol Glen Unified School District superintendent and school principal.

Barnes said that two fuses were blown right next to the school and a pole also went down around the corner from the school.

"Fortunately, there was no damage to the school in yesterday and todays power outage," Barnes said. "But due to the power outage, we did have to cancel school for the day. As of right now the power is still out and it is listed on the PG&E website as being restored at 2:00 PM today."

Because of the outage, the Sunol school board also had to cancel its board meeting on Tuesday.

The Dublin Unified School District didn't see many power outage issues other than a brief phone and internet outage at one of their school sites, according to Chip Dehnert, DUSD Public Information and Community Relations Officer.

He said that they did have one tree fall at one of the schools and other schools mainly had tree branches falling and debris being blown around.

According to the National Weather Service, the worst is mostly over as dry weather is expected through at least Thursday with temperatures warming into the mid 60's inland each afternoon.

Apart from the power outages, fallen trees continued to ravage the Tri-Valley Tuesday evening going into Wednesday morning.

According to Tiernan, Pleasanton received one injury report from a tree that fell onto a resident's garage.

"There was damage along with widespread power outages across town during yesterday's wind event," she said. "As of the afternoon of Wednesday, March 15, the city posted seven structures as moderately damaged and requiring repairs, but has not had to post any buildings as unsafe to occupy within the city jurisdiction. Most of the damage was relatively minor and did not compromise buildings."

Ken Mano, a longtime Pleasanton resident, was one of the people who had a tree fall in his neighborhood on Mohr Avenue.

"Our neighbor called the city and was told that it might be a while since so many trees are down," Mano said.

He said that the tree fell Tuesday afternoon around 1 p.m. and that city workers came to clear up the debris around 3 p.m.

He added that even when they finished around 5 p.m. other city workers still had to go Wednesday morning to clear up more of the logs.

He also noted that a tree fell on a neighbor's driveway three houses down from him and was even more grateful for the city's Operations Services Department for all the work they did these last couple of days.

"They even went three houses down where a tree fell on a neighbor's driveway and cleared it, although it wasn't blocking the road," Mano said. "She had just run an errand, came home and the tree had landed just where her car was parked prior to the errand. We were all blessed, lucky, fortunate that no one was injured, and there was no damage to our property."

However, the storm did manage to do some heavy damage such as the downed tree that destroyed the nursery wing at the historic Lighthouse Baptist Church on Neal and Second streets in Pleasanton.

And although there weren't any trees that fell in any right-of-way or caused any damage or hazardous condition in Dublin, Livermore does have one current hazardous road condition going northbound on Vasco road.

According to the city of Livermore Twitter page, stormwater from the hills washed out the shoulder of the road between Garaventa Ranch Road and Dalton Avenue and has exposed an electric conduit.

City crews are actively working on repairs.

Then in Danville, apart from the power outages as well, the town had relatively minimal impact on public property overnight, according to Public Information Officer Jenn Starnes.

"One tree on public property fell into nearby backyards. We did not receive reports of additional trees that may have been down on private property, so I cant say if there were more," Starnes said. "The two road closures are now cleared. Maintenance Services crews will be working to clear debris from public right of way areas this week, and expect to continue to clear debris throughout the town through next week."

In Pleasanton there are currently no road closures on city maintained roads. Alameda County closed Pleasanton Sunol Road at Castlewood Drive but according to Tiernan, the road is expected to be opened by the end of the day today (March 16).


About the Author: Christian Trujano

Christian Trujano, a Bay Area native and San Jose State alum, joined Embarcadero Media in May 2022 following his graduation. He is an award-winning student journalist who has covered stories in San Jose ranging from crime to higher education.
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