By Karen Wilkinson
Triplicate staff writer
Fierce winds knocked down several trees, closing local roads, stretches of U.S. Highway 101 and cutting power to more than 1,000 homes in Del Norte County late Tuesday and early Wednesday morning.
The high winds, which reached 63 mph at 2:35 a.m. Wednesday at the Del Norte County Airport, didn't break any records but caused headaches for roads workers, who cleared trees from streets through the night and into the morning.
Hwy. 101 was shut down both directions at three spots in Humboldt and Del Norte counties Wednesday morning, due to fallen trees and power lines, said Caltrans spokeswoman Ann Marie Jones.
A fallen tree and debris were cleared from the highway near Sand Mine Road and closed the road from 3:30 a.m. to 5:30 a.m. Wednesday.
Further south in Humboldt County, just north of Trinidad, the debris took a bit longer to clear. Hwy. 101 near Kane Road, about 12 miles north of Trinidad, was closed from 1:30 a.m. to 7:50 a.m. Wednesday after a tree and power line fell onto the road.
And eight miles north of Trinidad, a power line fell, closing the highway from 8 a.m. to 8:45 a.m. Wednesday.
No road closures were reported along the highway Wednesday afternoon.
"It was a pretty widespread storm," said National Weather Service meteorologist Nancy Dean, noting that the gusts were the tail end of a front that caused record-breaking rains on Christmas in Crescent City.
Local roads, homes and businesses were also hit as the storm made its way south.
An outage at the Yurok substation, which was caused by a tree that fell onto a transmission line, left 839 homes and businesses in and around Klamath without power overnight.
Pacific Power spokesman Monte Mendenhall said power was cut at 9:54 a.m. Tuesday and was restored Wednesday at 7:48 a.m.
However, 174 of those homes and businesses were still without power until 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, after repairs to two circuits at the Yurok substation overloaded the system and caused a fuse to melt, Mendenhall said.
"We got hit pretty hard," said Pacific Power spokesman David Kvamme.
And just north in Crescent City, another outage caused by fallen trees affected 188 homes and businesses on and near Washington Boulevard and Northcrest Drive. They were without power from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Wednesday.
"Everything is tree-related." Mendenhall said.
Those fallen trees kept Del Norte County Roads Department workers up early Wednesday morning.
Del Norte County Roads Superintendent Joe Hoke said some of his crews were out until about 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, clearing debris and a fallen pine tree from Old Mill Road, which fell around 1:30 a.m., breaking a power line and taking a phone line to the ground.
"There were a lot of things down," Hoke said.
Though the strong winds wreaked mayhem to local roads and delayed delivery of mail to to the Smith River post office, no injury accidents were reported by the local California Highway Patrol.
Though the gusts seem to be calming, National Weather Service meteorologist Nancy Dean said storms will likely return to drench Del Norte this weekend.
"There is a front coming through on New Year's Eve," Dean said, adding gusts of 20 mph are predicted.
The wind direction soon will change from the north through Thursday to the southeast beginning New Year's Eve, Dean said.
"We've got a break (today)," she said. "But we have another storm system coming but it doesn't look nearly as strong as the one that came over during Christmas."