Rainstorm floods roads, downs trees across Nevada County (VIDEO) | TheUnion.com

Rainstorm floods roads, downs trees across Nevada County (VIDEO)

Spectators gather on the Highway 49 bridge over the South Fork Yuba River to witness an intense amount of rain and snowmelt runoff rush downstream during Thursday's rainstorm.
Elias Funez/efunez@theunion.com

Cloudbursts of heavy rain Thursday morning caused power outages, downed trees and some flooding, most notably causing a serious commute headache on Highway 49.

John Gulserian, program manager with the county’s Office of Emergency Services, said at 9:20 a.m. Thursday that flooding was reported in the area of Combie Road. He also received reports of water topping the dam of a small pond outside the gates of Lake of the Pines.

Few issues other than localized flooding were reported in Nevada City. Public Works Acting Superintendent William Highsmith said the pool flooded at Pioneer Park.

“We will have to take care of that next week,” he said.

In Grass Valley, Senior Civil Engineer Bjorn Jones said he had only received reports of minor flooding.

A concern that Wolf Creek was ready to breach over Idaho-Maryland Road proved unfounded, he said, thanks to the intermittent nature of the heavy rain.

Joshua Pack with Nevada County Public Works posted that there had been widespread flooding throughout Nevada County. Combie Road flooded due to overtopping of the adjacent Ragsdale Creek. Roads throughout Alta Sierra and southern Nevada County were also hard hit, with localized flooding reports along portions of Brewer Road, Magnolia Road, Carrie Drive and Oscar Drive. Flooding issues also were reported along portions of Pleasant Valley Road.

A road washout was reported on North Bloomfield Road between Rock Creek and Edwards Crossing, with phone lines and a tree down.

Early Thursday morning, PG&E reported that almost 400 customers were without power along Magnolia Road, northeast of Lake of the Pines. Power was expected to be restored by the end of the day, however.

Downed trees were a big issue, with a tree reported down in the middle of the road at Augustine and Daisy Blue Mine roads. A downed pine tree crushed a carport and one vehicle at Valley Commons apartment complex on Segsworth Way in Grass Valley. And another tree that was leaning against a small cabin and in imminent danger of coming down forced the closure of East Main Street in Grass Valley for a period of several hours.

“We closed down the roadway between Joerschke Drive and Brunswick Road,” Jones said. “We felt it was a threat to falling on the structure and falling onto the road. It was a pretty substantial pine tree, over 100 feet tall, with a pretty good lean toward the street.”

The property owner was notified and a tree contractor took the tree down, Jones said, adding that the road closure lasted about three hours.

Snow in forecast

There was a welcome break in the weather Thursday afternoon, but more was on the horizon for Friday and Saturday, with 1-3 inches of snow possibly falling in Grass Valley by Sunday morning.

Some areas of the county received more than 5 inches of rain Tuesday through Thursday, according to the National Weather Service. Condon Park reported 4.31 inches while Banner Lava Cap Road checked in at 5.47 inches. White Cloud received 4.48 inches in just the 24-hour period ending Thursday, the weather service said.

The next system is expected to hit the county Friday afternoon into Saturday, said weather service meteorologist Cory Mueller. Snow levels will drop down to 3,000 to 4,000 feet with 14 to 18 inches of snow expected in the Sierra above 3,000 feet.

“Right now, we’re not really expecting much in the way of accumulation” at lower elevations, Mueller said.

Contact reporter Liz Kellar at 530-477-4236 or by email at lizk@theunion.com. Reporters Alan Riquelmy and Elias Funez contributed to this report.

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