Rain to continue this week, but not expected to be severe

Food spoiled in darkened fridges and surf pounded popular beaches Sunday after a powerful weekend storm left a windblown legacy that could deprive some homes and businesses of power well into the wet week ahead.

As many as 1,900 San Francisco homes and businesses and 5,100 Peninsula homes and businesses still did not have electricity by 4 p.m. Sunday, according to Pacific Gas and Electric spokeswoman Katie Romans. She said outages could continue until Wednesday or later. Most of the outages occurred Friday; Romans said a “handful” of outages were reported as late as Sunday.

But the dreary and unsettled weather is expected to continue until Thursday, National Weather Service meteorologist Brian Tentinger said, when a high pressure system is expected to clear clouds and push temperatures higher.

“It’ll be a good little storm system,” he said. “But nothing like last week.”

Tentinger said rain is likely to be heaviest on Tuesday, when chilly weather and wind gusts up to 30 mph are expected.

That does not bode well for some residents, especially Kenneth Louden of San Mateo. He has been unsuccessfully shopping for a generator throughout Northern California since his power cut out at 11 a.m. Friday. He said officials from PG&E have told him that the power would be restored shortly, but that has not happened as of Sunday evening.

“What can youdo? Just grin and bear it,” Louden said. “Not having heat is our major problem. All we want is our power back.”

Work crews have been dispatched to the Bay Area from as far away as San Diego and Montana to help PG&E restore power, according to Romans. She said more than 500 felled power poles would be replaced using logs from Oregon and metal poles from Oklahoma.

Roughly two million of PG&E’s five million electricity customers were blacked out after overhead power lines tumbled down as the storm tore through the West Coast on Friday, according to information provided by Romans. Nearly one million of the affected customers were in the greater Bay Area.

According to Romans, customers who lost power for more than 48 hours will be sent rebate checks for between $25 and $100 from PG&E. The publicly traded company earned $991 million in 2006, according to its latest annual report.

Flights in and out of San Francisco International Airport were back to schedule on Sunday morning, but low cloud cover in the early evening led to delays of up to two hours for a third of all domestic flights, according to airport spokeswoman Chris Davison.

jupton@examiner.com

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