Before the deluge: Aerial tour shows Cosumnes River in the valley before big storm
Storm expected to pick up around 10 p.m.
The National Weather Service in Sacramento expects the storm to pick up around 10 p.m. Saturday with heavy rain falling overnight and continuing into the early afternoon Sunday.
Meteorologist Travis Wilson said precipitation at Sacramento Executive Airport neared 1 inch by 6 p.m. Saturday. Wilson expects more than two additional inches of rain Sunday.
“It could be the rainiest day we’ve seen so far this winter,” Wilson said.
All of Northern California remained on a flood watch Saturday evening as forecasters prepared for snow runoff to flood local rivers and streams.
The agency issued a voluntary evacuation order for the Wilton area along the Cosumnes River in southeastern Sacramento County on Saturday afternoon. Wilson said the agency expects the Cosumnes River at Michigan Bar Road to rise to 16.4 feet, considerably higher than the 12-foot flood stage for that section of the river.
“Once it gets above 12 feet, water starts flowing on the road near Wilton,” Wilson said. “You can imagine if you go four feet above that it can start impacting houses potentially.”
All 18 gates open at Nimbus Dam
In anticipation of Sierra runoff from Northern California storms, the California Office of Emergency Services reports that 30,000 cubic feet of water per second is being released into the American River below Nimbus Dam.
Car hits pole, causes power outage
Power has been nearly restored to Sacramento Municipal Utility District customers between Highways 50 and 16, south of Rancho Cordova, after a car hit a pole on Bradshaw Road near Happy Lane, said Eileen Secor, SMUD spokeswoman.
The power outage started just before 3:30 p.m. and initially affected 12,814 customers.
As of 4:30 p.m., 38 customers remained without power, according to the utility’s outage alert website.
“We’re rerouting power to those customers, so we should have the majority of the folks with power within the half hour,” she said.
Anthony Sorci and Nashelly Chavez
Red Cross opens shelter to house flood evacuees
In the Sacramento region, local officials continued to warn Saturday of flooding, particularly in low-lying areas near creeks and rivers. Officials said the largest risk was likely along the Cosumnes River, particularly in the Wilton area of southeastern Sacramento County. On Saturday afternoon, officials issued voluntary evacuation notices urging residents to leave the area.
The Red Cross opened a shelter to house evacuees at the Elk Grove Pavilion at 9950 Elk Grove Florin Road in Elk Grove.
Yosemite Valley remains closed
The Yosemite Valley remains closed Saturday afternoon as Yosemite National Park officials prepare for flooding. Earlier in the afternoon, The National Weather Service issued a flash flood warning for parts of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, The Fresno Bee reports. Rocks and mudslides are possible on Highway 198 between Giant Sequoia and Grant Grove.
Tree falls, blocking gates at apartment complex in Carmichael
While many Sacramentans plan to wait out the storm at home, residents at the Charisma Apartments on Marconi Avenue in Carmichael don’t exactly have a choice.
An 125-foot oak tree fell on the gates at the property around 11 a.m., blocking cars from entering or exiting the 26-unit complex, said property manager Linda Thomason. The tree also wiped out the electrical box controlling the gate, Thomason said. She believes the rain saturated the soil and uprooted the tree.
“We have no way in and no way out, other than walking,” she said. “I’m thankful no one was at the gate punching in a code or they would have been smashed.”
No one was injured in the incident. An arborist was working to remove the tree in the late afternoon and a welder is scheduled to come out in the early evening to take down the gate, Thomason said.
California National Guard mobilizes troops to help with storm
The California National Guard has mobilized to help state and local emergency responders should there be flooding or other problems arise in the storm.
California troops trained as first responders moved their regularly scheduled drill to this weekend so they could be ready to help, the agency announced Saturday afternoon.
“Our soldiers and airmen stand prepared to protect property and alleviate suffering if called upon,” the agency said in a prepared statement.
Calm before the storm expected to last until about 6 p.m. in Sacramento
It really is the calm before the storm.
If you have an errand to run or need to head outside to clean a storm drain or ready your property for flooding, the next few hours would be a good time to do it.
Idamis Del Valle, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Sacramento, said the next wave of the storm isn’t expect to hit the region until about 6 p.m. Saturday.
The Stockton area may see heavy rainfall start to pick up about an hour earlier, she said.
The Sacramento area is still on track to receive up to four inches of rain through Monday. Most areas around the Sacramento region have so far received close to half an inch of rain in the past 24 hours. The city of Sacramento’s rain gauge at Arcade Creek at the Natomas east main drainage canal got the most rainfall in the region: about .8 of an inch.
Officials say that with the storm on the way, they may begin voluntary evacuations in some low-lying areas around Wilton Saturday afternoon.
Power outages reported amid gusting winds
A small power outage was reported in the Arden area late Saturday morning, according to the Sacramento Municipal Utility District. Several other smaller outages were reported in the SMUD service area, according to the utility’s outage alert website.
The outage knocked out power for about 150 people at around 10:40 a.m., but power should be restored within the hour, officials said. Forecasters warn that drought-weakened trees whose roots are now saturated from heavy rains could be at risk for toppling in heavy winds. The National Weather service is warning of southerly winds reaching gusts of to up to 50 mph in the storm. A wind advisory is in effect until noon throughout much of the Sacramento and San Joaquin valleys.
Snow in Redding beginning to turn to rain
Heavy snow fell as low as Redding in the northern Sacramento Valley Saturday morning, but by mid-morning it was turning to rain. Forecasters had predicted temperatures would warm significantly by Saturday afternoon as the first wave of a massive storm strikes Northern California. Heavy rain is expected to hit the Central Valley this evening and continue through Monday. Snow levels are expected to rise as the bulk of the warm storm hits.
For now, road crews are dealing with snow in the northern mountains. On Interstate 5, northbound traffic was being stopped at Fawndale north of Redding to be screened for chains. They’re required on all northbound vehicles except four-wheel drives with snow tires, according to the California Department of Transportation.
So far, no chain restrictions are required for any vehicles crossing the Sierra Nevada. Caltrans traffic cameras on Donner Summit show wet pavement with a mix of very wet snow.
To search weather conditions on a particular highway, visit http://www.dot.ca.gov/cgi-bin/roads.cgi?.
Northern California storm kicks off with Saturday soaking
Rainfall in the Sacramento area began at around midnight Saturday, with downtown Sacramento seeing .66 inches by 9 a.m. Forecasters predict that rain totals for the area could be just over an inch of water by the end of the day.
A storm that is expected to drench Northern California this weekend and early next week will hit hardest on Sunday, according to the National Weather Service.
“We are expecting it to be increasing in intensity through today and into the evening,” said Eric Kurth, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service.
A wind advisory was scheduled between 4 a.m. to noon on Saturday. Kurth said the toughest blows would hit parts of the northern San Joaquin Valley area, with Stockon seeing wind gusts reaching up to 36 mph. Mather Airport saw 22 mph winds while McClellan Airfield saw 20 mph blows.
By Sunday, new rain totals could climb up to two inches in some areas and will likely cause the flooding of smaller creeks and rivers. A flood watch was in effect beginning Saturday at 4 p.m. and lasting through Wednesday afternoon.
This story will be updated throughout the day.