Fall storm is a soaker for foothills

By: Gloria Young Journal Staff Writer
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The first major storm of fall brought slick roads, numerous fender-benders and spinouts, isolated flooding, a few power outages — and lots of rain. A gauge at Auburn’s Regional Park recorded 4 inches of precipitation between Saturday afternoon and mid-afternoon Sunday, according to the National Weather Service in Sacramento. The amounts of rainfall varied, with Downtown Auburn seeing 1.5 inches during the same period. “We were forecasting 1 to 2 inches of rainfall in the valley, 2 to 4 inches in the foothills and 4 to 8 in the mountains,” meteorologist Drew Peterson said Sunday afternoon. “Precipitation-wise, the storm was tapping into a moisture plume originating from Typhoon Megi (that hit China earlier in the week). Some of that moisture got into the jet stream and brought up the preciptable water in the atmosphere to twice its normal levels.” The National Weather Service recorded wind gusts of up to 60 mph near Duncan Peak in the Sierra. In Auburn, there were winds of up to 40 to 45 mph Sunday morning. By late Sunday, the brunt of the weather system had moved eastward, leaving the Auburn area with intermittent showers and subsiding winds as a cold front moved through. “We’re right on the edge, so might see chance of showers Monday morning,” Peterson said. “Some remnants the system won’t be completely out of the area until Monday afternoon, then there will be lingering showers in the mountains.” Snow levels stayed above 10,000 to 12,000 feet. "We did have a winter storm warning … but we don’t believe we’ll get the amount of snow previously forecast,” he said. “The snow did not drop as low as we thought it would because temperatures were warmer than anticipated.” The outlook for the week includes a mix of sun and clouds through Wednesday with temperatures reaching the mid-60s. But another storm, similar in strength to Sunday’s, will move in by late Thursday, he said. The fall and winter weather in the foothills will be impacted by a La Nina weather pattern. “We get a blocking pattern that will set up and block systems so they go to the north and to the south,” Peterson explained. “So you get some of these larger systems. We may see fewer systems but the ones we do see may be stronger.” As the rain poured through most of Sunday, local law enforcement responded to numerous incidents, including a non-injury collision on westbound Interstate 80 near Penryn late in the day that blocked two lanes for awhile. At approximately 4 p.m., a crash involving a PT Cruiser and a Honda blocked an eastbound lane of Interstate 80 near the Elm Avenue exit in Auburn, according to the CHP traffic incident log. “There’s been some trees down and some minor flooding,” said Sgt. Pete Warmerdam at the CHP’s Newcastle office. “There was one at Auburn Folsom and Lou Court that was blocking a lane and they had to call out (Placer County road maintenance) to clear that and there was traffic control. There was one on Foresthill Road and minor flooding at Timberlake.” The Auburn Police Department also responded to a flurry of calls for flooding and accidents, but nothing major, “just what you’d expect when there’s a lot of rain,” an Auburn dispatcher said. At least one power outage brought a PG&E crew to the Robie Drive area Sunday afternoon, but PG&E did not return a phone call seeking additional information. Reach Gloria Young at