Friday Feb 13 2009
Rare snow in Auburn as storm moves through
By: Gus Thomson and Journal Staff Reports
Interstate 80 subject to closures, delays
A rare convergence of cold and precipitation Friday dropped an inch of snow on Auburn, shutting schools and turning the foothills into a temporary winter wonderland. By late afternoon, rain had washed away nearly all signs of the snowfall in Downtown Auburn. At higher elevations, snow snarled traffic and made life more difficult. Linda Robinson, a Colfax resident with a business in Old Town Auburn, reported 8 inches of snow outside her home. Electricity was on and off in the morning and she was unable to drive out to get to work but able to call in an assistant. While the weather outside was frightful, Robinson couldn’t help note it was also delightful. "It's beautiful and very quiet," Robinson said through an e-mail message when her computer was up. "The branches of the trees are heavy and white and very still. I love it." According to the Cal Trans Web site, www.dot.ca.gov, eastbound Interstate 80 at Applegate was subject to vehicle metering at about 4:30 p.m. Friday at Applegate. There had been a closure earlier in the day due to snow and accidents. Caltrans said motorists could expect delays of up to four hours. On westbound Interstate 80, trucks were being screened five miles west of Reno. Caltrans was advising that drivers must have vehicle chains in their possession to proceed. Snow levels dropped to 1,200 feet in the morning, according to the National Weather Service in Sacramento. The weather bureau reported Auburn, on the edge of the snowline at 1,200 feet, received an inch of the white stuff. Foresthill reported a foot or more by late afternoon, with a new storm bringing in additional snow after 4 p.m. Among the closures was the Tahoe National Forest office. Many area schools declared Friday a snow day. Closures include all Auburn Union schools, all Placer Union High School District campuses (except for Del Oro), Bowman School, Alta-Dutch Flat Elementary, Placer Hills Union School District campuses, Foresthill Union School District, Forest Lake Christian and St. Joseph’s Catholic School. Ophir and Newcastle schools remained open. Kevan Cole, who has two children at St. Joseph's, said he got the call from the school's principal at 6:45 a.m. and was soon on the phone to other parents on his phone tree to let them know about the snow day. "It is very much a rarity," Cole said. "We get some maybe once a year and when it does, it's gone in an hour. This is hanging around." J.P. Kauinana, another St. Joseph's parent, was happy to get the call this morning. An Antelope resident, he didn't believe the snow day report until Cole sent him a photo. He was soon driving the 30 miles from rainy Antelope with his children Justin, 6, and Mikayla, 7, to enjoy a snow play day with Cole's children, Sara, 8, and Christopher, 6. "I said, 'Dude, we're coming up. It's play time,'" Kauinana said. Keep checking the Auburn Journal Web site for more updates throughout the weekend, as weather conditions will be changing.