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Heat returns to Nevada County: Cooler weather expected by the weekend

The sun shines on a section of the South Yuba River Tuesday afternoon in the South Yuba River State Park, near the Highway 49 crossing. Above average temperatures for this time means more strain on the local waterways, though visitor numbers have dropped recently.
Photo: Elias Funez

According to the National Weather Service, Nevada County is looking at warmer temperatures this week with a heat advisory issued until 8 p.m. Thursday.

“It’s not record breaking,” Meteorologist Johnnie Powell said. “It is around 10 degrees higher than it normally is this time of year, but it is still technically summer.”

Today’s high is forecast to be 95 in Grass Valley. Thursday’s high will peak at 97 and drop back down to 95 on Friday. Weekend temperatures are expected to drop into the low 90s.

“It’s gonna be hot all the way up to 5-6,000 feet,” Powell said.

Powell said real heat relief is found as evening temperatures typically fall into the 50s this time of year. However, this week nighttime temperatures will stop their descent in the low 70s.

To the east, smoke is expected to persist through Truckee’s high today of 85. Thursday will peak at 82, with a chance of thunderstorms and showers along the ridge that will last through Friday’s high of 77.

Powell said the Sierra Foothills are currently cut off from the Bay Area marine layer that usually offers relief to inland California this time of year.


Fewer visitors to the Yuba River have been noted as of late, including over the Labor Day weekend.
Photo: Elias Funez

According to data collected by the South Yuba River Citizens League, the number of river visitors this summer has steadily decreased over the last four weeks.

Communications and Engagement Director Betsy Brunner said SYRCL’s river ambassador program concluded Labor Day weekend, with volunteers helping steward the space at key river inlets Friday through Monday.

“The highest reported day was 260 people at Bridgeport this weekend,” Brunner said. “That is actually low — usually we see about 100 people an hour a lot of weekends.”

SYRCL encouraged people to avoid recreating outside during extended periods of hazardous air quality caused by various fires last week, but attributed the decrease in visitors in August to the decrease in temperature, the Nevada County Fair, and the return of the school year.

“We have seen a slow decline over the last four weeks or so, even though we did extend (our outreach) to Purdon’s Crossing,” Brunner said.

Brunner said she’s not sure if the lesser number of visitors has translated to less litter because the in-person ambassador program was not in operation the first summer after COVID-19.

“You would not believe how many soda bottles people hike in but our numbers haven’t gone up a ton,“ Brunner said. ”It’s really hard to compare to last year because we weren’t on trails as regularly, because the in-person ambassador program was not happening. We were using signage and every media channel.“

SYRCL will host it’s 24th Annual Yuba River Cleanup from Saturday to Sept. 18.

The waters of the South Yuba River flow clean and clear despite low levels as a result of minimal precipitation this water year. The South Yuba River Citizens League will be hosting its annual river clean up from Saturday through Sept. 18.
Photo: Elias Funez

Who: South Yuba River Citizens League

What: Volunteers have two options — a self-guided cleanup or joining the community at large for the traditional cleanup on Sept. 18.

Where: Thirty cleanup locations are located all along the Yuba River and throughout the Yuba watershed.

When: Self-guided cleanup is any time between Saturday and Sept. 18.

Sept. 18 communal cleanup begins at 9 a.m. and concludes at 1 p.m. A volunteer appreciation party will follow at Condon Park from 1 to 3 p.m., pending COVID-19 restrictions. The event will include a free lunch for volunteers along with festivities and music.

How: To register, go to yubarivercleanup.org

Brunner said some of the river’s visitors — tourists and locals — do not understand the impact of their visit on flora and fauna, and some do not care enough to find out.

“Both locals and out-of-towners leave trash,” Brunner said.

So far, volunteers have recovered camping gear, gold panning equipment and pool noodles along the river this year.

Brunner said that as SYRCL expanded its volunteer sites, it discovered trash most likely disposed by locals — mattresses and refrigerators.

According to a press release, SYRCL collected over three tons of trash during last year’s cleanup, and 250 tons of garbage over the last two decades.

Brunner said aside from litter, this year’s biggest concern was fire risk.

“It is illegal to have any fire in the whole 39 miles of the South River Yuba Canyon,” Brunner said, adding that ambassadors helped interrupt outdoor enthusiasts towing barbecues with protective grates to the river’s edge.

Rebecca O’Neil is a staff writer with The Union. She can be reached at roneil@theunion.com


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