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Strong storms cause damage, power outages in Berkeley

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MARCH 21, 2023

Severe storms in Berkeley have led to power outages and damage to trees and buildings around the city.

A PG&E outage map on its website shows large portions of the city affected by outages as of 7:46 p.m. Much of southwest Berkeley, campus and northeast Berkeley in the Berkeley Hills and the region surrounding Lake Anza are without working PG&E service, and some have resorted to alternate power sources such as generators. Other affected areas include the Claremont Hills region, North Berkeley between Hopkins and Cedar Street and several units along University Avenue between Martin Luther King Jr. Way and Sacramento Street.

A PG&E advisory email received by The Daily Californian at 10:39 a.m. said the company had prepared for the current storms by placing power poles, power lines, transformers and other electric equipment at locations around its serviced area to be able to quickly fix damaged lines. Additionally, PG&E operates emergency centers and vegetation management crews to remove trees and debris from power lines and improve allocation of resources and crews, according to the email.

In the email, PG&E advised customers to stay safe by avoiding touching downed wires and prioritizing the use of flashlights over candles. It also encouraged customers to reduce power usage at this time and to keep emergency supplies such as a backup phone and drinking water pre-prepared.

Additionally, storm damage has affected trees and property around the city.

A UC Berkeley WarnMe sent at 4:54 p.m. said a high wind and rain alert had been set for the campus area and that several trees and branches had fallen around campus. One such incident observed by a Daily Californian staff member occurred outside Evans Hall several hours ago.

At approximately 7 p.m., two people trapped in their vehicle under a fallen power line along Tamalpais Road made a 911 call and were helped by BFD and first responders, according to an alert on the app Citizen.

BART has also seen delays due to storms, with passenger buildup seen at Rockridge station by a Daily Californian staff member.

A March 9 press release from the city of Berkeley was updated March 16 and encouraged residents to call 911 for downed power lines and to call 311 to report clogged drains or fallen trees. It also instructed residents who suffer power outages to unplug or turn off electrical appliances to reduce the risk of fires and avoid overloading circuits. Residents can stay prepared for future storms by helping city crews clean drains, preparing emergency supplies and making sure submersible pumps are working properly.

Contact Ratul Mangal at 


MARCH 22, 2023