Snowfall heads toward a record
Winter’s sixth arctic storm dumped as much as 2 feet of snow in parts of western Nevada County Tuesday, pushing snow accumulation toward historical records.
At least another inch was expected for the region overnight Tuesday, with a slight chance of rain predicted for today by the National Weather Service’s office in Sacramento.
Weather is expected to continue to be wet, cloudy and cold until the seventh snowstorm is predicted to roll through Friday night, the Weather Service reported.
While snow fell off and on in most areas throughout the day Tuesday, residents in climate pockets saw hail, torrential rain and funnel clouds.
Snow clobbered Cascade Shores and the Banner Mountain area with 2 feet of snow dropped between 7 p.m. Monday and 5 p.m. Tuesday, resident Giovanni Paredes said. He reported a total of 85 inches for the winter season.
Although historical records for Cascade Shores were not immediately available, the National Weather Service reported 87 inches of snow for Nevada City during the winter of 1951-52. That was the second-highest accumulated snowfall for the county seat after the record of 104.8 inches in the winter of 1936-37.
About 18 inches of snow covered neighborhood streets on Banner Mountain, keeping most residents home-bound, Paredes said.
In Alta Sierra, rain fell in buckets mid-afternoon and funnel clouds were spotted.
In North San Juan, a few inches of morning snow gave way to afternoon hail the size of BBs followed by rain, resident Don Jackson said. He estimated total yearly precipitation for the area at 52.01 inches.
In Washington, snow fell for the fifth straight day, dumping 12 inches on Tuesday for a total of 25 inches, resident Ray Kraush reported.
South county saw nothing but rain, residents reported.
As many as 5,000 people were without electricity at the height of the storm Tuesday morning. Crews from Pacific Gas & Electric Co. cleared trees, repaired power poles, replaced fuses and restrung lines to restore power to most customers by nightfall, spokeswoman Lisa Randle said.
The largest single power failure of the day was in the North Bloomfield Road area, where 2,063 people were without power for nearly 4-1/2 hours in the later morning, Randle said.
As many as 300 customers in more remote areas were expected to continue without electricity until crews could get to them today, Randle said.
“Our focus is on the largest blocks of customers first and business areas, and then we’ll begin to work on the smaller outages,” Randle said.
City, county and state road crews struggled to keep up with falling snow on the main arteries all morning and parts of the afternoon. They moved into residential streets as the snow let up later in the day.
In Nevada City, police officers pushed motorists out of deep drifts, a city dispatcher said. Trucks were fitted with removable plows to keep streets clear, city manager Mark Miller said.
“We’re just about down to pushing slop around now,” Nevada City Public Works director Verne Taylor said mid-day. Taylor, who drove one of the plows, reported some flooding in the town.
In Grass Valley, Idaho-Maryland Road between Sutton Way and Brunswick Road remained closed, city Public Works director Jeff Jewett said.
The California Department of Transportation had at least 100 pieces of equipment clearing state highways 20, 49, 174 and 80, including snow plows, sanders, graders and trucks, spokeswoman Juanita Holley said.
Noninjury accidents were reported “everywhere” as motorists spun out and slid into each other, California Highway Patrol Officer Rod Akin said.
Eric Rood Administrative Center was without power. The Board of Supervisors’ day-long meeting was canceled and may be rescheduled for 9 a.m. next Tuesday, District 1 Supervisor Nate Beason said.
The storm clouds could have a silver lining: Nevada City firefighter Phil Parker said the heavy precipitation this late in the season could help reduce risks during fire season.
“It all depends on the summer,” Parker said.
Staff writer Josh Singer contributed to this report. To contact staff writer Trina Kleist, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 477-4231.
On the phone and on the Web
• For updates regarding power failures, call PG&E 1-800-743-5002.
• To report a power outage, call 1-800-743-5000.
• For PG&E safety tips, go to http://www.pge.com.
• For National Weather Service updates and forecasts, go to http://www.weather.gov, search for Sacramento, CA, and click on Grass Valley to get to the nearest area.
• For traffic conditions, go to the California Highway Patrol site at cad.chp.ca.gov.
– Josh Singer
Snow measured in the area from Monday night to Tuesday afternoon, according to The Union’s weather watchers:
• Cascade Shores: 24 inches
• Cedar Ridge: 4 inches
• North San Juan: 3.5 inches
• Peardale: 11.5 inches
• Washington: 12 inches
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