Torrential Sierra Foothills storm knocks out power (video) |

Torrential Sierra Foothills storm knocks out power (video)

Photo for The Union by John Hart
John Hart | The Union

A slew of power outages have been reported in western Nevada County, emanating from a storm that dumped a torrential 4 inches of rain in the last 24 hours and lobbing gusts of wind.

As of 3 p.m., Pacific Gas and Electric had a total of 3703 customers without power in the company’s Sierra Division, a spokesperson reported.

PG&E also listed 14 customers without power in Grass Valley (down from 98 at 12:30 p.m.) stemming from four power line incidents; 161 in Nevada City, 33 in North San Juan and 30 in Penn Valley.

Of the Nevada County outages, Penn Valley’s was the largest, said PG&E spokesperson Brandi Ehlers. Shortly before 8 a.m., 1,648 customers lost power. By 3 p.m., most of those had been restored, although 244 were still without power.

In that same area, tree was reported blocking the roadway on Bar Hill Road, off Penn Valley Drive shortly after 8 a.m., reported .

Shortly before 7 a.m., a caller on the 100 block of Union Street in Nevada City reported severe flooding of a building, according to the Nevada City Police Department’s dispatch logs.

Reports are also coming in of a blown transformer on Wolf Road, knocking out power at Forrest Lake Christian school.

“The rain is going to continue,” said Carl Swanberg, a National Weather Service forecaster in Sacramento.

In addition to the 10 a.m. 24-hour total of 4 inches of rain, Swanberg said a subsequently Pacific storm front is expected to drop an additional 2.5 inches or more on the Grass Valley and Nevada City area. Sunday is expected to add another 2.5 inches as well.

“The heaviest rain will be more toward sat night through Sunday morning,” Swanberg said.

A flood advisory is in effect for western Nevada County until 4 p.m. Sunday, while higher elevations in the eastern county were issued a flood warning shortly before 10 a.m. for Steamboat Creek and Truckee and Susan Rivers.

Swanberg cautioned that small streams and creeks will likely run high, with the possibility of nuisance flooding from clogged storm drains.

Already street erosions have mangled one Grass Valley road. Carol Drive, between Doris Drive and Doris Drive, a gravel road, was closed to through traffic Friday due to severe erosion, said Bjorn Jones, an associate civil engineer.

Repairs will be initiated as weather and scheduling permits, Bjorn noted, and it is anticipated that the roadway will remain closed for at least 5-7 days. Access to residences will be maintained, however through traffic will be required to use an alternate route.

“This situation could worsen, as far as the small stream-type flooding,” Swanberg said.

The Nevada County Office of Emergency Services has free sand and sandbags available next to the Nevada County Warehouse, located on the corner of Highway 49 and East Broad Street in Nevada City.

Beginning Wednesday, sand and sandbags will also be available at the North San Juan Fire Station No. 1 and the Higgins Fire Station No. 21.

“When you need them, it is nice to have them,” said Nic Ferrera, program manager of the Nevada County Office of Emergency Services, in a Monday interview with The Union.

Residents must bring their own shovel to fill the sandbags with sand.

“Take what you need, but don’t fill up your kid’s sandbox,” Ferrera said.

Adding to the potential dangerous situation is increasingly fast southeast winds, estimated to start at 10-20 mph today and Saturday, but increasing to 15-30 mph by Sunday, all with higher gusts around 40 mph anticipated, Swanberg said. A wind advisory is also in effect until 4 p.m. Sunday.

“You’re getting saturated soil conditions,” Swanberg said, increasing the likely hood of uprooted trees and downed branches.

“There is that potential,” he said.

At around 6:30 p.m. Thursday, a caller on the 400 block of South Auburn Street in Grass Valley reported a downed tree into a home, according to the Grass Valley Police Department’s dispatch logs.

The Grass Valley Downtown Association is planning on having a limited Cornish Christmas today. While the event will run from 6-9 p.m. as scheduled, only Mill Street will be closed, due to cancellations, the organization said.

Cornish Christmas will go back to the regular schedule of Mill and Main streets next week (weather permitting).

Check back with The Union newspaper for more details as they become available.

Additional preparedness information is available on the Nevada County OES website: and at the Nevada County Home and Family Emergency Preparedness Center located at the Eric Rood Administrative Center in Nevada City.

To contact Staff Writer Christopher Rosacker, email or call (530) 477-4236.

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Grass Valley and Nevada County make The Union’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.


Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User