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Winds whip the coast, down trees

By Jennifer Grimes

Triplicate staff writer

High winds lashed the coast for the second straight day and forecasters are predicting a series of similar storms through Thanksgiving.

At the Crescent City Harbor yesterday, a skeleton maintenance crew worked feverishly to save the harbors dredge, which tore loose and crashed into a dock.

An estimate of the damage was not immediately available.

Yesterdays storm came on the heels of a front that produced gusts of 53 mph Monday. That storm toppled a tree in Fort Dick, which in turn knocked down a power line to four substations. Thousands of homes were plunged into darkness.

Lights went out in Crescent City, and the surrounding area at about 2:35 p.m. Monday. At 3 p.m. winds reached their highest speeds, according to meteorologist Jeff Lorens of the National Weather Service office in Arcata.

But we didnt get as much precipitation as you would expect. The Crescent City airport reported only a quarter of an inch from yesterdays storm, Lorens said.

The strong winds toppled trees and branches throughout Del Norte County. According to Pacific Power, one large tree snapped a major power transmission line on Reynolds Road in Fort Dick. It was that line which left area substations without electricity, according to Bekki Witt of Pacific Power.

It was quite the outage there, evidently, Witt said.

More than 5,000 homes and businesses went dark. In Crescent City power came back by 4:35 p.m. But in Fort Dick, Hiouchi and Smith River, power was out until just before midnight. Crews worked nine hours straight to repair substation damage blocking power to those areas, according to Witt.

It was extensive damage, so they had to de-energize the lines before they could do the repairs, she said.

Mondays storm was only one in a large chain of storms linked by a low-pressure system, according to the weather service.

Winds and lighter rains hit yesterday. Another strong storm is expected today and tonight and another is expected Thanksgiving evening.

That should be a warmer and wetter system, then it should cool down on the weekend and bring light snows to the mountains, Lorens said.

With winter storm season officially here, Pacific Power urges people to stock up on batteries and battery-operated lights, radios and clocks as well as bottled water and blankets.

Witt said its also helpful when customers call in reports of power outages.

To report an outage call, 1-877-548-3768.

Other tips from the power company include:

Keep away from all power lines and do not drive over lines on the road.

Keep refrigerators and freezers closed as much as possible they will keep food colder longer if not opened.

Dont connect a generator to your homes main fuse box or circuit panel. This can create a dangerous backfeed hazard for line crews.

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