Nevada County emerges from weekend of destructive storms |

Nevada County emerges from weekend of destructive storms

Jennifer Terman
Staff Writer

The storm that wracked Nevada County this weekend proved disastrous for some residents.

"I woke up in a lake," said Mill Street resident Sherry O'Leary, who owns ShareBears Childcare preschool, which she operates out of her home. "My 6-year-old daughter woke me up Sunday at 8:30 in the morning saying that toys were floating around our car."

O'Leary's two vehicles and hot tub were both submerged in water, her garage was flooded, and play structures in the yard floated in the muddy waters of the overflowed Wolf Creek behind her house.

"I put on shorts and held my daughter on my shoulders and waded through the water as firefighters helped us evacuate," O'Leary said.

According to O'Leary, the water flooded the area in a matter of three hours and receded back into the creek in the same time span.

Marian and Charles Wycoff also experienced damage from the storm, as a huge pine tree crashed into the back porch of their residence on Pear Tree Lane in Nevada City, puncturing their propane tank.

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"It felt like the whole house moved sideways." Marian said. "If it had come straight across, we wouldn't be here today,"

Due to the propane leak, Marian called the fire department, which had the couple wait nearly two hours for the tank to expel its contents before allowing them to re-enter the house.

"It could have caused an explosion if the tree would have fallen on the tank," Charles said.

The weekend's storm not only caused flooding, power outages and fallen trees in residences and businesses but also wrecked one of the historic train cars at the Nevada County Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum.

"A pine tree broke off in the storm, and the trunk and high branches damaged the center section of the car," said curator Brian Blair.

According to Blair, the damaged train car was built by the St. Charles Car Company in St. Charles, Mo., in July 1897 for the Florence and Cripple Creek Railroad in Colorado. It was later sold to the Nevada, Colorado and Oregon Railroad and was retired in 1928 and used as a cafe in Aden, Calif. The car was later used as a part car at the Lyon's Den miniature golf course in Chico, before the Nevada County Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum purchased it in 1984.

The extent of the damage has not yet been assessed, but it does appear the train car can be saved.

"Our restoration manager, John Christensen, said the car can be salvaged and restored," Blair said. "There was considerable damage, but it is reparable."

Blair said windswept trees covered the rail yard and that no other damages were incurred.

According to the Nevada County Sheriff's Department, more than 150 calls were made over the weekend, mostly due to storm damage.

National Weather Service forecaster George Kline said the four-day period from Nov. 29 to Dec. 2 experienced a reported 11.36 inches of rain, almost double last year's November rainfall average of 6.89 inches.

"It's a lot more rain than usual, especially for a four-day weekend," Kline said.

Another low-pressure, relatively warm storm system will bring more rain Tuesday and Wednesday with the heaviest amount occurring late Tuesday night into Wednesday.

The expected rainfall will be 2.3 inches.

"We are not too concerned about it generating flooding, but it might cause some mud slides in the steeper canyons, since everything is loosened up," Kline said.

To contact Staff Writer Jennifer Terman, email or call (530) 477-4230.

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