Christopher Rosacker
crosacker@theunion.com

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Wind, rain uproot trees, cause power outages in Nevada County

More than four inches of rain saturated Nevada County’s soil over the week, weakening its grasp on tree roots that fell toward homes and power lines when high winds slammed Nevada County Sunday.

But Grass Valley and surrounding areas are expected to see a reprieve from the deluge today with another set of showers expected to come Tuesday.

“We’re going to have a little break (Monday) in between systems,” said Craig Shoemaker, a forecaster with the National Weather Service.

Reports of power outages came early Sunday morning with small, scattered outages county wide.

Nevada City was particularly unlucky with power outages. Beginning at around 9 a.m. Sunday, 2,443 customers there lost power, according to Pacific Gas and Electric spokeswoman Jana Morris.

Shortly before 4:30 p.m., all but 95 of those customers had power restored. But then another tree caused 2,505 customers to lose power.

Other outages affected customers in Grass Valley, Penn Valley and folks living around North San Juan. That precipitation turned to snow at around 4,000 feet, Shoemaker said.

“Even though you haven’t gotten that much snow up there, snow weight on already saturated vegetation is causing limbs to come down as well,” Morris said.

A Grass Valley caller on the 13000 block of Winding Way reported a tree had fallen across the power lines and started a fire, according to police dispatch call logs.

Shortly after 1:30 p.m., a caller on the 300 block of North Church Street reported a tall pine tree had begun to uproot and lean toward an apartment complex. By 2:30 p.m., the tree had leaned to a more than 45 degree angle toward the home, propped up by only a cement wall and other trees. Fire fighters and public works employees on scene evacuated the apartment building.

As of press time Sunday, 379 customers were without power in Grass Valley.

Between four and five inches of rain were reported to have accumulated at various monitoring locations in Nevada County with as much as 2.5 inches falling Sunday, Shoemaker said.

Today is expected to be drier, with temps peaking at around 45 degrees.

Showers could return Tuesday afternoon and last through Wednesday, dropping as much as another inch or two of rain, Shoemaker said.

“The heaviest rain will be late Tuesday and Tuesday night,” Shoemaker said.

For folks above 4,000 feet, that could mean a white Christmas.

To contact Staff Writer Christopher Rosacker, email crosacker@theunion.com or call (530) 477-4236.


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The Union Updated Dec 24, 2012 04:00AM Published Dec 26, 2012 08:07AM Copyright 2012 The Union. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.