Brief storm brings rain, wind to county; more on the way |

Brief storm brings rain, wind to county; more on the way

A tree fell on power lines near Empire Mine, causing Highway 174 to close Tuesday morning.
Laura Mahaffy/ | The Union

A Tuesday-morning storm dropped between .65 and .85 inches of rain in the Grass Valley area before noon, and prompted the National Weather Service to issue a wind advisory urging drivers to be cautious on the roads.

The rain began to taper out toward the afternoon, when light showers were expected to bring an additional .10 inches of rain to the area before giving way to dry skies.

“Wednesday is looking to be a nice little dry window, and that will continue into Thursday,” said Brooke Bingaman, a forecaster with the National Weather Service.

Tuesday’s storm began moving into the area from the California coast in the early morning; the National Weather Service cautioned the weather pattern could bring small stream flooding, travel delays and local power outages due to wind gusts, which were forecasted to reach 20-30 miles per hour in the Grass Valley area, and up to 40 miles per hour in the Sacramento Valley.

The wind advisory was in effect from 6 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday.

Bingaman said the storm brought snow at elevations of around 6,000 feet and above.

The rain and wind caused trees to topple over near Highway 174 at East Empire Street, damaging a nearby AT&T pole. The road was closed around 11 a.m. as crews from AT&T and PG&E were called to the scene for repairs; it reopened to traffic around 3 p.m.

No other significant traffic incidents were reported in the area on the California Highway Patrol web site; PG&E reported no major power outages in the area due to the weather.

Another storm is expected to hit Nevada County beginning Thursday afternoon and last into Saturday. Bingaman said the county will feel the brunt of the storm early Friday morning, with showers lingering after that. Snow levels are predicted at 6,000-7,000 feet on Friday, before falling to 4,000-5,000 feet on Saturday, according to the National Weather Service.

Grass Valley has received nearly 10 inches of rain since the beginning of the month. That’s above normal, Bingaman said; the area’s average for the month of January is 8.8 inches of rain. So far, the month’s heaviest rainfall came on Jan. 18, when Grass Valley received 2.9 inches of rain, Bingaman said.

To contact Staff Writer Emily Lavin, email or call 530-477-4230.

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