Mar. 15—On Wednesday morning the storms had broken, the sky had lifted to reveal a brilliant blue but thousands of Bay Area residents were still without power.
As of 10 a.m., Pacific Gas & Electric Co. reported that 83,049 customers in the South Bay and 40,014 on the Peninsula were still lacking electricity from a storm that started overnight Monday and continued through Tuesday.
By noon the situation had improved slightly but just under 80,000 were still without power in the South Bay and just under 35,000 without power on the Peninsula.
In a noon briefing, PG&E Vice President of Emergency Preparedness and Response Angie Gibson blamed most of the outages on "soil saturation in combination with high winds. We've seen whole trees uprooted," she said.
The downed trees toppled power lines and made roads impassable to PG&E crews. Gibson said 5,500 PG&E personnel were on the ground in restoration efforts Wednesday, including some brought in from outside the Bay Area.
Wednesday marked the 38th day this winter that the emergency operations center had been in action, and Tuesday's storm was the 13th major weather event PG&E has dealt with.
Vice President of Operations and Chief Operating Officer Sumeet Singh said Tuesday brought the 13th major storm event of the season, calling it "the most impactful storm that we have seen in terms of customers out in a single day in the Bay Area, since 1995."
Some 450,000 customers were affected and at its peak, 367,000 were without power. Of these, 200,000 have had their power restored with the majority of the outages concentrated in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties.
PG&E outage map: Bay Area power shut-offs by address
In the Santa Cruz Mountains, gusts hit 97 mph on Tuesday and at San Francisco International Airport they were clocked at 74 mph. Officials at the command center said that two-thirds of the customers still experiencing outages have received an estimated time of restoration from PG&E and the majority of those were within 24 hours.
"The extreme storm that produced the major damage has thankfully exited the area," said Gibson. "In the next few days, we will have good weather for our restoration efforts."
Reach Sam Whiting: firstname.lastname@example.org
(c)2023 the San Francisco Chronicle
Visit the San Francisco Chronicle at www.sfchronicle.com
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.