Strong winds and soggy ground were recipes for downed utility poles, falling trees and tree branches and blown over fences last weekend as the Central Valley and state were hammered by storms.
In short, Sunday was a nightmare for public works crews and utility workers who were called out for emergencies such as removing tree limbs from cars and houses and replacing utility poles.
Poles carrying telephone lines were pushed over like dominoes on a segment of Whitmore Avenue in Hughson, blocking a major route in town and causing a hectic Monday morning scramble for the delivery of students at Hughson High School.
Elsewhere in the county, the California Highway Patrol closed down State Route 132 between Wellsford Road and Albers Roads between Empire and Waterford due to the falling of 41 telephone poles. Those poles were replaced and service restored by AT&T by Monday.
On Friday evening the Sheriff’s helicopter buzzed up and down the Tuolumne River using the loud speaker to warn residents and homeless persons in low lying areas to be prepared to move to higher ground. However, Stanislaus County was not hit as hard with rain as some parts of the state, including Riverside County, southeastern Orange County and northwestern San Diego County.
Power was interrupted sporadically in Ceres and other locations on Sunday afternoon when winds intensified.
Too much rainfall falling too fast on the west side of Stanislaus County caused flooding on Highway 33 and resulted in its closure between Patterson and Westley. The stretch of the highway was open by Monday morning.
So many citizens flooded the phone lines of Stanislaus Regional 911 Center with reports of damage on Sunday that calls had to be prioritized to keep lines open for life-threatening 911 emergencies.
In most cases, reports of power outages of five minutes or longer or downed lines in Ceres and TID service area should be called into 209-883-8301.
Partly cloudy conditions and dry skies are expected for the week.
Modesto Irrigation District reported the area has received a total of 9.12 inches of rainfall thus far this season with the historical average recorded at 7.18 inches. The record this season to date was 15.43 inches in 1890.
The Tuolumne River at Ceres was reported at 41.83 feet yesterday, far below the flood stage level of 55 feet. For historical reference, the Tuolumne River reached 71.2 feet at Modesto on Jan. 4, 1997 and 66.43 feet on Christmas Day 1955.
Don Pedro Reservoir was filled to the 799.18 foot level as of Tuesday. The lake reaches capacity at 830 feet.