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Storm updates: Plumas, Lassen counties, city of Portola declare emergency

Plumas, Lassen counties, city of Portola declare state of emergency

4 p.m

Plumas and Lassen counties and the city of Portola declared a state of emergency due to widespread flooding and rock slides, county officials say.

Greg Hagwood, Plumas County Sheriff and director of the Office of Emergency Services, said Highway 70 will be closed for at least an hour while Pacific Gas and Electric opens flood gates at Cresta Dam in the Feather River Canyon.

“The highway is currently underwater,” Hagwood said.

Countywide power outages and sewer issues have affected the city of Portola, Hagwood said. The community of Taylorsville is inaccessible, Hagwood added.

The county has set up a sandbag station at the Plumas County Fairgrounds.

Jane Braxton Little, Bee correspondent; Jessica Hice

Cosumnes River is not expected to spill into Wilton

3 p.m.

The Wilton area in southeastern Sacramento County appears to have avoided widespread flooding Sunday.

The latest projections estimate that the Cosumnes River is likely to stay contained within its levees this afternoon, said Matthew Robinson, a spokesman for the Sacramento County Department of Water Resources. Earlier, officials had predicted it would top the levees by 3 p.m.

“The storm has not really hit us as hard as we thought,” Robinson said. But he said residents should still be mindful that projections can change at any time and the area remains at risk of flooding.

More than 14,000 briefly without power in North Highlands

2:45 p.m.

The Sacramento Municipal Utility District reported at 2:45 that more than 14,000 homes in the North Highlands area are without power, but it was quickly restored.

Eileen Secor, SMUD spokeswoman said troubleshooting teams are paroling the area. For updates, www.smud.org/en/outages

Jessica Hice

Mudslides, flooded road block highways 20 and 49 outside of Nevada City

2:30 p.m.

Highway 20 is closed from Nevada City to Interstate 80 due to flooding. Mudslides also were reported blocking lanes on Highway 49 in Sierra and Nevana counties. The highway was closed to northbound traffic in Nevada City. One lane was open about a mile north of downieville, accoding to the California Department of Transportation.

12-year-old girl rescued from overturned car in flooded creek

1:30 p.m.

A 12-year-old girl was rescued from an overturned submerged car on Sunday morning on Highway 49 near Rio Oso Road, Placer County officials said.

Dena Erwin, spokeswoman for the Placer County Sheriff’s Department said the girl’s mother was driving at around 10:45 a.m., lost control of the car and swerved off the roadway into a flooded creek.

Erwin said the driver emerged from the car screaming, “my baby is in the car” as water engulfed the vehicle. Two sheriff’s deputies and several civilians pulled the girl from the car and placed her in a patrol car to get warm before a medical team arrived.

Erwin said there were no serious injuries.

Current Sacramento traffic conditions | Current weather conditions

Jessica Hice

Massive wind gust reported in the Sierra

12:30 p.m.

Think it’s windy in Sacramento? It’s nothing compared to what’s blowing along peaks and ridge lines in the Sierra Nevada.

The National Weather Service in Reno said one weather station Sunday morning in Squaw Valley reported a wind gust of 159 mph.

That’s not to say the winds weren’t causing problems in Sacramento. Local social media users posted several photos of fallen trees, including at least one toppling on a car in South Sacramento.

The weather service said to expect southerly winds gusting to potentially up to 50 mph by 6 p.m. Sunday.

Flow projections reduced slightly for the American River

12:15 p.m.

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Flood control officials have dialed back the amount of water they plan to release Sunday night and Monday morning on the Lower American River through Sacramento.

Because inflow into Folsom Lake is projected to be not quite as high as originally thought, officials will raise flows on the American to 60,000 cubic feet per second by 1 p.m. Monday. That’s 15,000 CFS lower than was originally projected, but still double the already-high water that was gushing past Sacramento’s flood-protection levees Sunday morning.

Sacramento County creeks nearing flood stage

10:50 a.m.

Some Sacramento County creeks are very close to flooding.

Laguna Creek at Eagles Nest has reached 102.54 feet, about 18 inches from flood stage, county officials said Sunday morning.

Arcade Creek has filled to 76 feet, just shy of its flood stage of 76.34 feet.

The National Weather Service says rainfall totals from this storm may rival December 2005, the last time Sacramento’s Arden Arcade neighborhood near Arcade Creek flooded. In those storms, about 40 of 700 owner-occupied town homes in the Woodside complex were damaged when a nearby slough overflowed, some under more than a foot of water.

Meanwhile, Yuba County has opened an evacuation center at the Yuba College Cafeteria at 2088 N. Beale Rd. in Marysville.

County spokesman Russ Brown said a few low-lying roads between levees are already starting to flood.

He said the region is especially on edge because January 2017 is the 20-year anniversary of the catastrophic floods of 1997 which hit the region hard.

Floodwaters inundated 250 square miles of California’s Central Valley, damaging or destroying 23,800 homes and 1,900 businesses. Nine people died and 120,000 residents were evacuated.

19 small power outages reported in Sacramento; county officials request flood photos

10:30 a.m.

The Sacramento Municipal Utility District is reporting that as of mid-morning Sunday, there are 19 outage areas in the county, with 2,600 homes and buildings in the dark, mostly in the Carmichael area.

Meanwhile, Sacramento County Office of Emergency Services tweeted a request for anyone taking and tweeting photos of local flooding to turn the GeoLocator on their phones so that county officials can create a map of flooding areas. They are asking people to mention @SacramentoOES in the tweet, and to describe the picture.

They warn, however, that people should keep a safe distance from flooded areas.

“Six inches of water can knock you over, 18 inches can move your vehicle,” the county office tweeted.

Tony Bizjak

Downed tree snarls Sacramento light rail’s Blue Line

9:55 a.m.

Sacramento Regional Transit says a downed tree on the tracks near the 7th and Capitol Mall station downtown has forced partial closure of light rail service on the Blue Line downtown. The agency is setting up a “bus bridge” to ferry passengers around the closure area, between the La Valentina and 13th Street stations. Officials say they have not yet established a reopening time for that segment of the Blue Line.

Tony Bizjak

Cosumnes River now expected to flood around 3 p.m.

9:30 a.m.

The California Department of Water Resources has revised its projections for flooding on the Cosumnes River near Wilton to 3 p.m. Sunday. Earlier projections estimated the river would top its levees near Michigan Bar by noon.

Massive flow increases planned for the American River

9:25 a.m.

Starting early Monday morning, federal dam operators will be dramatically increasing flows on the American River through Sacramento to make way for a massive gush of water expected to wash into Folsom Lake.

The American’s flows already were high Sunday – 30,100 cubic feet per second. But in anticipation of huge amounts of water pouring into Folsom Lake, officials are going to more than double that amount – to 75,000 CFS by midday Monday.

The reason? A huge amount of water is expected to gush into Folsom Lake Sunday night and Monday morning – as much as 230,000 CFS. That would be almost eight times the amount flowing into the lake Sunday morning, said Shane Hunt, a spokesman for the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, which manages Folsom Dam.

The heavy flows Monday on the American River will be higher than any time during California’s six-year drought, but they’re still well below record flows.

In the catastrophic floods of 1986 and 1997, the American River reached peak flows of 134,000 cfs and 115,000 cfs, respectively.

Officials said the higher flows will not overwhelm the city’s flood protection system.

Flooding predicted around noon for Wilton area

8:15 a.m.

The Wilton area in southeastern Sacramento County is likely to flood between 11 a.m. and noon Sunday when the swollen Cosumnes River spills over the top of its levees, according to state water officials.

A voluntary evacuation order remains in place for 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.

Mitch Russo, who’s overseeing flood response for the state Department of Water Resources, says several other area rivers are at risk for flooding. They include the Bear River downstream of Camp Far West and much of the Yuba River watershed.

Local streams in the Sacramento area, including Arcade and Dry creeks, also are at risk of flooding.

“When I came in to work today the Arcade ... was right there at the base of the bridge,” Russo said.

State and federal flood-control levees and water diversions that keep the Sacramento region’s largest rivers – the Sacramento and the American – from flooding major population centers are expected to handle the deluge fine, Russo said.

Water is expected to start dumping into the Yolo Bypass at the Fremont Weir near Woodland between 6 and 7 p.m. Sunday.

The bypass is engineered to spill stormwater from the Sacramento River system into a vast floodplain west of Sacramento, keeping cities like Woodland, West Sacramento and Sacramento safe from major flooding.

Small power outages reported in Sacramento area

7:45 a.m.

At least seven small power outages were reported in the Sacramento Municipal Utility District’s service area Sunday morning.

The largest outage was in North Highlands where 1,763 customers were without power, according to SMUD’s outage website. The storm is expected to bring heavy winds Sunday to the Sacramento area. The National Weather Service warns of winds from the southeast blowing around 30 mph throughout the day. Gusts reaching more that 40 mph are possible.

Flooding reports coming in as Sacramento area breaks rainfall record for Jan. 7

7:20 a.m.

Some low-lying areas in Marysville, Yuba City and Lincoln experienced localized flooding Sunday morning after the first wave of a massive storm hit the region. Much of California remains under a flood watch.

More than an inch of rain fell in Sacramento on Saturday, breaking the rainfall record for Jan. 7.

The storm is expected to dump even more onto the region throughout the day, as flood watches remain in effect through Wednesday for much of Northern California and the San Joaquin Valley.

“I think today is when we’ll see the more significant flooding,” said Eric Kurth, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Sacramento.

Rainfall totals through Wednesday are expected to range from 4 to 6 inches in the Central Valley, 4 to 8 inches in the coastal and Shasta mountains and 7 to 16 inches in the northeast foothills, Motherlode area, western Plumas mountains and the Sierra Nevada.

The National Weather Service issued an avalanche warning for the Sierra from Yuba to Ebbetts passes and the Lake Tahoe basin.

Ryan Sabalow: 916-321-1264, @ryansabalow

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