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Havoc wreaked on county

Dave Moller

Georgie Coulter woke up Tuesday morning to find a concrete wall full of plants had collapsed overnight onto the roadway in front of her home at South Church and Dalton streets in Grass Valley.

“I would imagine I’ve got a $10,000 repair bill,” Coulter said. “I’m looking for a contractor.”

On Ridge Road, Rose Koch had a tree destroy a fence and sustained damage to her home.

“We had tree all over the side of the house,” she said.

Nevada County residents struggled with the aftermath of Monday’s blustery storm and hailstorms that struck just before noon Tuesday. The area’s wild weather is predicted to calm today, but that will change by tonight, when a cold storm with snow rolls into the Sierra.

The snow will linger through Friday, according to Harry Stockman at the Qwikcast.com weather service.

“The snow level will come down to 3,000 feet,” Stockman said. “This next one is really a cold one, it’s going to feel like winter,” and could leave 4 to 8 inches.

According to the National Weather Service in Sacramento, temperatures in the mid-40s Wednesday will drop to around freezing overnight. Lows Thursday and Friday night will be in the high 20s, with highs during the day in the high 30s to low 40s.

After another lull with a slim chance of rain and slightly higher temperatures is predicted for this weekend. But Stockman said yet another storm front will bring March rains late next Monday or early Tuesday.

Traffic lights at the intersection of Highway 20 and Pleasant Valley Road were reportedly not working Tuesday morning due to power outages in the Penn Valley, when a semi collided with a pickup truck. The driver of the pickup truck was reportedly flown to a Roseville hospital by helicopter. Further details were not available at press time.

That outage hit 6,300 customers from Grass Valley to Penn Valley along Highway 20 at approximately 8 p.m. Monday, according to Lisa Randle of PG&E. The utility got the power back up for most customers by about 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, according to the Penn Valley Fire Department.

Randle said a 60,000-volt transmission line near Alleghany probably fell through a tree causing the Penn Valley-Lake Wildwood outage. It also cut power to more than 700 customers in the Downieville, Sierra City and Alleghany areas, Randle said, along with another 425 customers in the Camptonville and Bullards Bar Reservoir areas.

Power was back up in Downieville by early afternoon, due to the town generator, according to Ingrid Larson, owner of the Downieville Grocery Store. But power was still down in Sierra City, Alleghany and the Camptonville area through late in the afternoon, Larson said.

“PG&E’s working on it,” Larson said Tuesday. “We just fed them.”

Randle said late Tuesday afternoon that most power would be restored by midnight. The exception was about 100 customers along Scotts Flat Road above Nevada City, where Randle said there was no estimated time of restoration.

Around western Nevada County, trees started falling from the unusually high winds Monday night and damage was continually reported to the Sheriff’s Office into the afternoon.

One tree was blocking French Avenue in Grass Valley Monday night, while an alarm in the 800 block of East Main Street was blaring after a building’s windows were blown. At approximately 10 p.m., two disabled vehicles were found standing in water at the Empire Street off-ramp on northbound Highway 49.

On Tuesday morning in Grass Valley, a woman in the 200 block of Richardson Street reported a tree fell into her garage. About the same time, flooding was reported in the 200 block of Nevada City.

Out in the county, a fallen tree blocked both lanes of Indian Springs Road just past Spenceville Road. Another tree fell next to Bitney Springs Road near the Rough & Ready Highway, disrupting traffic.

Just before noon Tuesday, Don Jackson of North San Juan was trying to get home from Nevada City in a flash hailstorm.

“We got pounded,” Jackson said after he ran into an accumulation of hail on Highway 49 just past the Rood Center. “There was a solid sheet of hail over everything.”

Jackson said he recorded 2 inches of rain over the weekend and .98 inches between Monday morning and Tuesday morning.

Doug Wilson reported that 1.81 inches of rain fell at his Peardale home from 7 a.m. Monday to 7 a.m. Tuesday. In Washington, Ray Kraush said 5.8 inches of rain had fallen there since the storms started Sunday.

In Alta Sierra, Carl Hillemann said “we got just a touch of hail here. It’s usually localized under thunderheads, so it can strike anywhere.”

Hilleman had recorded 2.3 inches of rain from Sunday to Monday and another 1.25 inches from Monday to Tuesday morning.

In Grass Valley, the wastewater treatment plant reported 1.98 inches of rain over the weekend and another 1.79 inches from Monday to Tuesday morning. At that point, Grass Valley had 47.58 inches for the weather year, which runs from July 1 to June 30. That’s well over the average annual precipitation rate of 38.76 inches to date.

In Nevada City, the water treatment plant reported 2.18 inches over the weekend and 2.28 inches from Monday to Tuesday morning. By 3 p.m. Tuesday, another 0.2 inches had fallen. That meant Nevada City had 55.47 inches at that point, well over its annual average of 38.97 inches.


To contact senior staff writer Dave Moller, e-mail davem@theunion.com or call 477-4237.

The colder round of storms predicted for tonight and Thursday are expected to bring snow, and slow down runoff in the foothills. But those fearing high water can still get sandbags at the following locations:

• The Nevada County yard, 12548 Loma Rica Drive in Grass Valley until 5 p.m. Bring your own shovel and there is a 100-bag limit.

• In Grass Valley, for city residents only, at the city yard, 556A Freeman Lane.

• In Truckee, at the fire station, 10049 Donner Pass Road.

Source: Nevada County Office of Emergency Services.

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