UPDATED: Storm soaks Alameda
UPDATED: Storm soaks Alameda
Updated at 8:55 a.m. Friday, December 12
A storm dumped more than three inches of rain on Alameda on Thursday morning, flooding roads and downing trees across the Island. But Alameda appears to have escaped the heavier flooding and power outages experienced by some other Bay Area cities.
"We dodged the bullet," Alameda Public Works Director Bob Haun said. "Overall, I think we came out all right."
City officials and Island residents reported some flooded homes and streets and a handful of downed trees Thursday, a fraction of the damage some feared the storm would cause. As of 8 a.m., more than three inches had fallen over 24 hours at Oakland International Airport, the National Weather Service's closest data collection spot. But the high winds predicted by the National Weather Service didn't materialize here.
Alameda Point and Mariner Square Drive - which typically flood during heavy rains - were both covered by inches of water as the rain fell Thursday morning. Chapin and St. Charles streets between Eagle Avenue and the future Jean Sweeney Open Space Park were each covered by close to a foot of water, and other areas of the Island, including Clement Street, experienced flooding.
Residents like Kimberlee MacVicar reported flooding in their yards; Haun said a pair of homes were flooded due to the rains. Alameda's lagoons - particularly Seaplane Lagoon - rose as the rain fell Thursday morning, with the waters in Seaplane Lagoon lapping against Artemis Racing's docks. Haun said his department "opened a couple of choke points" to bring the flooding down.
Haun said the city got 20 calls about downed trees and limbs, including five full trees down. Readers submitted photographs of downed trees in Crown Harbor and on Alameda Avenue.
A representative for Alameda Municipal Power said the electric company hadn't received any reports of power outages or downed lines Thursday. Nearly 100,000 customers across the Bay Area reportedly woke up without power Thursday; 80,000 were affected by a PG&E substation outage in San Francisco.
Schools and ferry service were canceled Thursday in anticipation of the storms, which were forecast to dump inches of rain and bring wind gusts that could top 80 m.p.h. in higher elevations. Schools will be open on Friday, district officials told parents in an automated call Thursday afternoon. And ferry service in Alameda and across the Bay Area, canceled Thursday morning due to the storms, was reinstated for afternoon and evening runs.
"Expect delays and slower than normal transit times," a press release from the ferry service issued Thursday afternoon says. "We will continue to monitor the weather and advise of any specific cancellations as storm conditions dictate."
The storms reportedly caused the cancellations of hundreds of flights in and out of San Francisco International Airport; no flights to or from Oakland airport were canceled.
The National Weather Service issued a flood advisory for Alameda and other Bay Area counties until 6 p.m. Thursday and a coastal flood warning that will remain in effect until 7 p.m. Thursday. The warnings tell drivers to expect minor roadway flooding during the evening rush hour commute and not to drive through water and also warns of rising water along the coast. A flash flood watch is in effect until 4 a.m. Friday.
The weather service is forecasting showers and a possible thunderstorm with light winds tonight and Friday, with the rains tapering off Friday night and a sunny day Saturday.
City officials are asking anyone seeking to report flooding or downed tree limbs to call the city's public works department at 747-7900 during weekdays and the Alameda Police Department at 337-8340 after 6 p.m. and on weekends.
Alameda Municipal Power has activated its storm preparedness plan in anticipation of potential power outages. Customers who experience an electrical outage anywhere on the Island or a phone outage at Alameda Point can call 748-3900 to report it during regular business hours or 748-3902 after hours. The utility is also asking anyone who sees a downed power line to report it to them or the police department.
The utility offered safety tips in case of outages or downed power lines which include:
· Never go near a downed power line and never touch trees or any other obstacles in contact with the power lines.
· Keep flashlights, a battery-powered radio and fresh batteries in an easily accessible place.
· Do not use candles for lighting. Candles are one of the top causes of household fires.
· Turn off major appliances and unplug other electronics, like TVs and computers. This will prevent damage to them if there’s a power surge when electricity returns.
· Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed. Most food in the fridge will last 24 hours except dairy products, which should be discarded after six hours.
· Never plug portable or auxiliary generators into a wall outlet. The electricity generated by a generator can start a fire and can also feed back into the utility system and seriously injure or kill a utility line worker. Portable generators should be placed in a well-ventilated area.
The Alamedan will continue to monitor the approaching storm and provide updates, here and on our Twitter feed. Here are our storm tweets and yours, so far.