Storm Brings Down Trees, Utility Poles, Causes Damage Across County - NBC 7 San Diego

Storm Brings Down Trees, Utility Poles, Causes Damage Across County

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    Amid a flood warning and a powerful storm system, heavy rain and winds have left damage across the county Thursday, including potholes, power outages, and fallen trees and boulders.

    At least two utility poles have snapped and fallen in Ramona likely due to heavy winds Thursday. The poles could be seen in the middle of the street near Mt. Woodson Road just off Highway 67.

    The downed power lines reportedly sliced open the top of a nearby delivery truck.

    “I thought it was a boulder that just hit us,” said delivery person Ian Tagavilla. “Turned out it was a cable line.”

    Tagavilla works for Fast Trucking that makes delivers across the county.

    “I’m lucky to be alive,” he told NBC 7. “I’ve never experienced something like that, it was shocking.”

    Tagavilla said it was a good thing the cable didn’t hit the windshield. Though, the damages done made the truck “not drivable.” He said it would be “very dangerous to drive that vehicle.”

    San Diego Gas and Electric reported a power outage in South Ramona, Iron Mountain, and Barona, though it is unclear if the fallen utility poles are related.

    At 11:45 a.m., nearly a dozen different power outages were reported by SDG&E, according to its outage map. In total, roughly 1,800 customers were affected across the county.

    In La Mesa, the city said portions of Summit Drive were closed in both directions due to a wire hazard.

    SDG&E was dispatched to Oceanside to repair downed wires near Hillcrest Place.

    The rain picked up in the area just before 1 p.m. causing some difficulties for crews in action.

    Photo credit: Melissa Adan

    A neighbor said he saw the wires spark but thought it was lightning. He also said he saw smoke, fearing a potential fire.

    Caltrans reported a large boulder blocking part of a roadway just west of Ramona. All lanes on State Route 78 were closed between Indian Oaks Road and Haverford Road.

    The roadways are expected to reopen by 6 p.m., according to Caltrans.

    In Escondido, rescue crews began efforts to pull a body from a flood control channel at around 5:20 p.m.

    North of the area, a mudslide was reported near Valley Center Road and Lake Wohlford Road.

    The streets have been completely shut down until further notice, according to the California Highway Patrol.

    CHP officers warn residents in the area to use an alternative route.

    In Sorrento Valley, flooding blocked off the only access roads to an after-school program on Sorrento Valley Road. Close to 250 students had to wait more than an hour after pickup time until they were loaded into vans and shuttled to a nearby train station where their parents were waiting to take them home.

    In Poway, the powerful storm caused two trees to fall, one at Scripps Poway Parkway and the other at Twin Peaks Road and Maplewood Street. City crews closed the roads so they could clean up the debris.

    Along Sandia Creek Road in Fallbrook, there had been three water rescues as of 1:20 p.m. Rockslides could be seen along the road.

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    In Coronado, the heavy rain and strong winds caused a tree to come crashing down onto a home, smashing some exterior tiling.

    A resident in the area, Jacqueline Hardt, said the tree fell at around 7 a.m.

    A huge section of the tree appeared to have split off, taking down some power lines in the area.

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    “[The homeowner] was making breakfast, and she heard a very loud noise and she thought that a car had driven into her property, but it turns out that was the force of the tree splitting and falling onto her roof," Hardt told NBC 7.

    Within a few hours, the tree had been removed and SDG&E repaired the power lines.

    Hardt said she was surprised at how quickly crews cleared the area.

    In Carlsbad, a eucalyptus tree fell, also at around 7 a.m. The homeowner said she heard a loud thud Thursday morning and immediately called it in.

    Dirt, roots, and branches could be seen strewn across the residential roadway.

    Crews were able to clear the roadway by 11 a.m.

    Cal Fire San Diego said it was attempting to respond to a “medical emergency” in the De Luz area in a tweet just before 1 p.m.

    Due to the flooded roads, a swift-water rescue team was dispatched nine miles from De Luz Road near Riverside County.

    Along Murray Ridge Road in Serra Mesa is a littering of potholes, according to residents in the area. And Thursday’s rain caused even more problems for drivers.

    “Two days ago it was maybe 12 inches in diameter, and now it's going to swallow up a small car, I think,” said Mike Walker, a resident in the area.

    Rainy conditions can make it difficult to spot potholes, which can cause costly damage to cars.

    “People don't think it's going to cost that much money and, honestly, at the very end, it can actually cost a lot,” said Erika Lara, a customer care specialist with Aero Auto Repair.

    But drivers aren’t the only ones paying. NBC 7 Investigates requested pothole payouts from the city's risk management department in 2018 and found more than $253,000 in payouts at the taxpayers’ expense.

    Potholes typically form when water gets into the cracks of asphalt and then cars drive over those cracks which then vibrate and begin to destroy the pavement, according to NBC 7’s Steven Luke. They are the number one complaint on the city’s Get It Done site.

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    (Published Thursday, Feb. 14, 2019)