Felt those strong winds? They’re nothing to worry about yet, officials say

Stronger wind speeds have blown all week through coastal cities like Eureka, but the gusts aren’t yet a problem, officials said Wednesday. (Shomik Mukherjee — The Times-Standard file)

It’s been a blustery pair of days in Eureka and other coastal cities in Humboldt County, but Public Works departments and meteorologists say the stronger gusts don’t pose the threat of infrastructure damage or wildfire.

Wind speeds near the county airport in McKinleyville reached 35 miles per hour on Tuesday night. Downtown Eureka saw gusts of similar strength. The fastest winds, countywide, were clocked at Cooskie Mountain south of Petrolia, at speeds up to 60 mph.

But the speeds are manageable, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service said Wednesday. The levels would need to climb up to 40 to 45 mph for the service to issue a wind advisory alert.

“That’s generally when the damage starts to occur,” said Tyler Jewel. “We stayed under that for this event, thankfully.”

While strong winds whistled through Eureka’s downtown streets, causing trees to bend over, the city has seen no damage due to wind speeds, said Brian Gerving of the city’s Public Works department.

“Usually, we don’t have many problems until we have wind and rain come together,” Gerving said. “The first rain of the season tends to coincide with leaves recently having fallen from trees. That’s when you’ll have storm drains plug up and have a drainage problem.”

Coastal cities did have problems with power lines. Power was cut to around 59 energy customers at Hillcrest Drive in Humboldt Hill around 6 p.m. Tuesday when a tree branch fell into a power line.

Crews from the Pacific Gas and Electric Co. restored power around 1:40 a.m. Wednesday. PG&E spokesperson Deanna Contreras said Wednesday the weather could have contributed to the fallen trees.

Countywide, the stronger winds didn’t pose any threats to structures or roads. Public Works director Tom Mattson said Wednesday his department will monitor the weather as a windier and rainy season gets underway.

Shomik Mukherjee can be reached at 707-441-0504.

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