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Davis, California

Friday, April 19, 2024

With city-wide power outages after an atmospheric storm, what will the city do to prepare for the next storm?

Local businesses share their experience with the storm and recent outages


By KATELIN PANG — city@theaggie.org


On Feb. 4, the city of Davis experienced an atmospheric storm that caused several businesses to temporarily lose power. 

At Mishka’s Café, Sacramento City College student and Barista Claire Barret had experienced a normal Sunday of customers looking for a dry place to study, everything seemingly normal until closing time. 

“When I was putting away the table and chairs, I was questioning, ‘Will I get blown over?’” Barret said. “But I didn’t.” 

Power outages are not a regular occurrence for downtown businesses or for Mishka’s Café.

“I’ve only experienced two power outages working here, and one of them was the first week I worked here, and the second was last week’s storm,” Barret said. 

The city of Davis posted updates about the storm on Feb. 4, including potential flooding areas, how to prepare for a power outage and offered 10 sandbags per household at Arroyo and Walnut Park to combat the storm.

 “Expect increased widespread wind gusts. 40-55 mph,” the city of Davis said in a Tweet on Feb. 2. “Localized street flooding in some unincorporated county roads and power outages may occur. Please stay safe and don’t drive unless you have to.”

The city also gave a non-emergency phone number (530-747-5400) in the event that issues arose after hours. This was the case for Mishka’s Café.

“The power went out after we closed, so it didn’t affect our customer service, but it took us a little bit longer to put things away and close down the shop,” Barret said.

Other businesses like The Avid Reader only had difficulties with power outages after hours. Eliot George, an employee at the local book store, shared how most of the issues happened the next morning. 

“On Feb. 4 we closed three minutes before the power outage,” George said. “So thankfully there weren’t any issues on Sunday. On Monday, however, the computers were reset which required a lot of IT to get everything back up and running.” 

The city has also addressed issues with the current storms. Adrienne Heinig, assistant director of Public Works Utilities and Operations, discussed actions the city takes every year. 

“The city plans for rainy weather and storms every year by proactively cleaning and clearing our city’s drainage inlets,” Heinig said. “Staff check in regularly on spots where they know localized flooding can occur, as well as monitor city stormwater stations in real time. Staff keep an eye on the weather forecast and work with the operational teams to gauge how systems are running and if any additional assistance is needed.”

These precautions ensure that streets stay maintained, and residents can prepare for possible storm debris. Heinig also said that there is staff available 24/7 for emergency issues.

“Year-round, the city has staff on ‘standby,’ which means someone is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week if there are public works emergencies after regular working hours,” Heinig said. “During particularly windy and/or rainy weather, the city has additional staff to join the standby group to ensure inlets stay clear and roadways clear of obstructions.”

The city is also predicting additional heavy atmospheric storms throughout February. Heinig said that the city is prepared to combat any unexpected changes with forecasts.

“Last year, during the nine atmospheric river events our region experienced, city staff worked 12-hour shifts during the storms,” Heinig said. “We do not anticipate that this next storm will require that level of response, but we are ready should weather patterns change.”


Written by: Katelin Pang — city@theaggie.org


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