Weather Systems Tying Up Bay Area; Lab Departures by 2:30 Authorized
As a powerful winter storm passes through the Bay Area this afternoon, packing strong winds and heavy rain, employees are urged to exercise extreme caution when departing the laboratory today. Hazards have been significant on the roadways, and at least one major highway, the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge, was shut down due to traffic accidents. Almost 300,000 residents are without power, and damage has been extensive in some communities. Another storm is expected to arrive later tonight or tomorrow.
Conditions at the Lab have been hazardous and are expected to continue as the day goes on. Debris is accumulating at the main Blackberry entrance, and the visitors' entrance lane was closed in order to mitigate a potential mudslide. Flooding has been cited at several locations, include Buildings 62 and 65. The walkway from the upper cafeteria parking lot leading to the Wells Fargo ATM machine has been flooding, causing a serious slippage hazard for those attempting to use the machine. Roof leakage at Building 90 has also been reported.
Berkeley Lab Chief Operating Officer David McGraw has issued a directive that, with supervisor approval, employees are encouraged to head home by 2:30 p.m., in the interest of their safety and that of their families. Traffic continues to be treacherous in all directions, and McGraw urges all departing staff to travel slowly and carefully when exiting. Officials continue to discourage people from leaving via the Grizzly Peak route, due to high winds, road debris and visibility.
The Lab will continue to provide updates on any change in conditions on site via the "weather updates" link on the Berkeley Lab home page. Any employee or guest discovering a safety hazard due to weather damage should contact the guards at the Blackberry Gate at x6669.
For the latest information on road conditions, go here.