Saturday Nov 20 2010
Weekend series of storms brings low snow, crashes, spinouts
By: Gloria Young Journal Staff Writer
A strong storm brought heavy rain to Auburn and snow to higher elevations of the foothills Saturday night. At 10 p.m. Saturday, the California Highway Patrol website was reporting that eastbound traffic was being held at the Applegate exit of Interstate 80 due to weather conditions. Around the area there were multiple crashes and spinouts, as well as reports of damaged power lines. One person had to be extricated from a vehicle and was transported to Sutter Roseville Medical Center following a rollover crash on Taylor Road at about 9:15 p.m., according to official reports. The first wave of the multi-storm weather system dropped 1.15 inches of rain in the Auburn area from Friday evening into Saturday. The second storm, which moved in Saturday evening, was expected to add a similar amount of precipitation by midday today, with snow levels dropping as low as 2,000 feet, according to meteorologist Tom Dang with the National Weather Service in Sacramento. “A third wave will be sliding through (tonight) into Monday,” Dang said. “Sunday’s will be fairly weak, with maybe a quarter of an inch to a half-inch of rain (in Auburn)- Not nearly as strong as the last two waves.” Another weaker storm will follow on Tuesday before skies clear, just in time for Thanksgiving. Locally, the forecast called for sustained winds of 10 to 20 mph, with gusts up to 35 mph Saturday night. “In the Sierra, toward the ridge tops, we’re probably looking at wind gusts in the 50 to 60 mph range,” Dang said. “There’s the possibility of whiteout-type conditions toward the ridge tops.” A break in the rain early in the day Saturday kept traffic incidents to a minimum, California Highway Patrol Officer Eric Karla said. “I got on at 11 a.m. and it has been rather quiet for the most part, just our usual run-of-the-mill minor non-injury accidents,” he said. But by 10 p.m., the CHP website was reporting multiple traffic hazards, disabled vehicles and accidents in the Auburn and Grass Valley areas. In the Sierra, the weekend storms couldn’t have been better timing for Northstar at Tahoe, which opened Friday. “Overnight we received 16 inches at the summit and it has been snowing a lot of today,” resort spokeswoman Jessica VanPernis said Saturday. “It’s definitely great and welcomed. We’re planning to open some additional terrain (today) and are continuing to make snow. It’s lining up well for Thanksgiving week for people coming up to ski.” At Boreal Mountain Resort, the 24-to-30 inches of new snow from the storm was a heartening sight. “We have a lot bigger crowd than we were expecting,” spokesman Jon Slaughter said Saturday. “We thought the storm and road conditions would keep people away. But Caltrans did a great job clearing the roads and the storm let up just enough to let people get up here.” The resort has been open for almost two weeks. “It’s a whole new world out there,” Slaughter said. “The trails we had open before are now nice, soft, fluffy trails. We’re going to be able to start expanding the terrain as more storms arrive. This is the first one that has really set us up in the right direction. We’ve been doing great snow-making, but this is the one we needed and we’ve got it.” Reach Gloria Young at email@example.com.