More than 900,000 households and businesses throughout California lost electricity during the latest atmospheric river storm that walloped the state, according to PG&E. As of the morning of Feb. 6, more than 64,000 PG&E customers in the Bay Area remained without power. 

The storm that first landed in the North Bay and Central Coast on Feb. 4 drenched the region with heavy rains and strong winds that resulted in mostly minor damages in Morgan Hill and Gilroy, according to authorities. Some Santa Clara County roads were temporarily closed due to tree limbs, power lines and other obstructions blown over by the storm. 

PG&E’s online outage map showed outages in Morgan Hill that affected a few hundred customers at times during the storm. 

During the 24-hour period during which the storm hit and lingered, most areas in South Valley saw at least two inches of rain fall before the afternoon of Feb. 5. 

In west Morgan Hill, the latest storm dumped 3.74 inches of rain, according to local resident Chris Henry, who runs the Facebook page “Morgan Hill Rainfall.” 

Minor flooding was reported in locations that often find themselves saturated during big storms in Morgan Hill, according to city staff. Those include the Stoney Creek neighborhood, Wright Avenue between Hale and Del Monte and Walnut Grove south of Dunne Avenue. 

No flooding was reported at Watsonville and Monterey Roads, a likely indication that the new Upper Llagas Creek Flood Protection project is working to control sudden heavy volumes of rainwater as it was designed to do, said Morgan Hill City Clerk Michelle Bigelow. The flood control project, under construction by Valley Water, is not fully complete. However, segments through downtown Morgan Hill and south of town are functional. 

Damage on public roadways in Morgan Hill during the Feb. 4 storm included a tree down on Thomas Grade and a power line knocked down near Wright Avenue, Bigelow added. Both were clear with no significant damage by Feb. 5. 

In Gilroy, Silva’s Crossing on Miller Avenue, at Christmas Hill Park, was closed Feb. 4 due to high water levels in the creek, which had subsided by Monday. 

“Even though our crews were ready to assist with any severe impacts of the storm, most reports were of a more minor nature,” said Gilroy spokesperson Rachelle Bedell. “We had some localized flooding in streets (and) some minor localized power outages.” 

Bedell added that with “off-and-on” showers forecast through the end of the week, the city doesn’t anticipate impacts. “However, our crews stand ready in the event that the current predictions change, and more response is needed,” Bedell said. 

Sections of Watsonville and Bolsa roads in South County were closed temporarily on Sunday due to fallen debris blocking the roadway, but these were reopened by Monday afternoon, according to county staff. 

The Feb. 4 atmospheric river followed a line of storms in the Bay Area that continued to saturate the valley floors and hillsides. So far in South County, the season’s rainfall measures between 13 and 14 inches, according to Valley Water rain gauge measurements posted on the water district’s site. 

The National Weather Service is forecasting “warm and dry” conditions through the weekend in South Valley, following a few brief scattered showers in the early morning and early afternoon of Feb. 7, according to Meteorologist Nicole Sarment. 

The latest forecast included “an upper level trough to drop out the moisture that’s left” on Feb. 7, resulting in some showers early in the day, Sarment said. These showers were predicted to drop between .25 and .5 inch of rain on the area. 

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Michael Moore is an award-winning journalist who has worked as a reporter and editor for the Morgan Hill Times, Hollister Free Lance and Gilroy Dispatch since 2008. During that time, he has covered crime, breaking news, local government, education, entertainment and more.


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