A large tree fell near Guerneville early Monday, pulling down power lines and five power poles, which blacked out the region for hours and blocked the highway for most of the day, according to the CHP and PG&E.
The Guernewood Road tree fell at about 2:30 a.m. In an instant almost 4,000 PG&E customers, including Guerneville, Monte Rio and Rio Nido, were out of power, said JD Guidi, utility company spokesman.
Twelve hours later about 1,240 customers were still without power, according to a PG&E website.
Highway 116, the Russian River area's main traffic route, was closed throughout the day just west of Guerneville as a PG&E crew worked on the multiple problems.
PG&E initially had no estimate of when the entire problem would be fixed.
Traffic was being turned around, directed across the river to Bohemian Highway, or around to the north via narrow hillside lanes.
"There were power poles and lines everywhere. It was nuts," said Russian River fire Capt. Travis Wood.
Some poles were tilting across Highway 116 and some were on the ground, said fire Engineer Stephan Mercieca.
"All the town was out of power," Mercieca said of Guerneville. A generator kept the Guerneville fire station running.
Guidi hadn't heard that the tree caused the damage. "It pulled down several of these poles so it must have been pretty significant."
You can reach Staff Writer Randi Rossmann at 521-5412 or firstname.lastname@example.org.