Flood warnings in effect with streams on the rise and more rain expected

Flooding and high river flows along the American River Parkway

Mile 21 of the American River Parkway is flooded, and the river is flowing fast after early February storms and heavy reservoir releases.
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Mile 21 of the American River Parkway is flooded, and the river is flowing fast after early February storms and heavy reservoir releases.

A flood warning is in effect for much of Northern California until early Saturday, with rivers and streams on the rise, according to the National Weather Service.

Although rain in the Sacramento area had tapered off by Tuesday afternoon, a flood warning continued for the Cosumnes River at Michigan Bar into the afternoon and evening.

“A lot of places on the upper Sacramento River Basin are near or above flood stage,” said Hannah Chandler, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service. “Those are looking to peak Wednesday and then drop below flood stage, but then there is another storm coming.”

As of 5 p.m. Tuesday, Sacramento Executive Airport had received. 1.38 inches of rain for the 24-hour period, Chandler said. Elsewhere in the region, Roseville reported 1.38 inches, Folsom 1.39 inches, Davis 1.08 inches and Placerville Airport 2.06 inches.

Between a quarter inch and a half inch of rain is forecast for the Sacramento area Wednesday, with a high near 63 degrees. Heavier rain is expected Thursday before giving way to showers Friday.

In the Sierra Nevada, snow is expected Wednesday around elevations of 7,000 to 8,000 feet. Rain at lower elevations could melt snow and contribute to flooding concerns, Chandler said.

Rain and wind led to a number of weather-related problems Tuesday.

Wind damage disrupted light-rail service between Folsom and Sacramento; buses ferried riders during the morning commute. Service was restored shortly before 4:30 p.m. between the Iron Point Road and Power Inn stations, but buses continued to transport passengers between the Power Inn and 29th Street stations into the evening commute.

Mark Lonergan, Regional Transit’s operations manager, said storm damage knocked out power to light-rail trains on the Gold Line between 59th and 65th streets in Sacramento. A fiberglass insulator broke, which caused tension in the line to be released. The power line came down to the ground along the RT right of way and other equipment was broken.

The storm also took its toll on roadways. Mudslides closed Highway 70 west of Twain in Plumas County on Tuesday morning, according to the California Highway Patrol, and the state Department of Transportation reported that a mudslide required one-way controlled traffic on Highway 50 over a 3-mile stretch east of Ice House Road in El Dorado County.

El Dorado County’s Transportation Division announced Tuesday afternoon that Mount Aukum Road, in the south part of the county, would be closed indefinitely in both directions due to sinkholes. The road was closed at the north end at the north fork of the Cosumnes River bridge and at the south end at Happy Valley Road, just north of Grizzly Flat Road, according to a county news release.

In Sacramento County, the storm and heavy releases from reservoirs again caused flooding along the American River Parkway. Sacramento County Regional Parks announced the closure of several areas along the parkway, including Discovery Park and the footbridge at Lower Sunrise Park.

In the Sierra, although the lack of chain restrictions was conducive to travel, the warm storm Tuesday limited recreational activities. As of midmorning, Sugar Bowl, Alpine Meadows, Squaw Valley and Sierra Tahoe had announced closures.

“Conditions are very wet and heavy today causing increased avalanche conditions,” Squaw Alpine Mountain Operations posted on Twitter.

Bee staff writers Tony Bizjak and Jessica Hice contributed to this report.

Cathy Locke: 916-321-5287, @lockecathy

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