Here’s the latest on the Sacramento area storms on Tuesday.
I-80 through Sierra closed for night, crews work to clear avalanches
10:17 p.m.: The California Highway Patrol’s Truckee office tweeted that Interstate 80 remained closed Tuesday night and is not expected to open until Wednesday. Highway 267 also remains closed from Northstar to Kings Beach.
The CHP and Caltrans were working to clear two avalanches, one on eastbound I-80, west of Donner Lake Road and the other on Highway 89, one mile south of Alpine Meadows. Both slides were reported covering the roadway and the CHP asked motorists to avoid the areas.
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Arcade Creek, Morrison Creek reach flood stages
9:22 p.m.: In Sacramento County, Arcade Creek near American River College and Morrison Creek at Florin Road reached flood stages after 9 p.m. Tuesday, according to the Sacramento County Rainfall and Stream Level Information System.
Dry Creek reaches flood stage in Rio Linda, evacuations underway
7:42 p.m.: The Sacramento County Office of Emergency Services tweeted that evacuations are underway on Cherry Lane, Covered Bridge Road and 6th Street in Rio Linda after Dry Creek East at Elkhorn Boulevard reached flood stage at 49.90 feet. Evacuees are being directed to Rio Linda High School.
Avalanche conditions close Highway 50 overnight from Sly Park to Meyers
7:17 p.m.: The California Department of Transportation tweeted that Highway 50 over Echo Summit is closed from Sly Park to Meyers due to avalanche conditions. The closure is expected to remain in effect until 4 a.m. Wednesday.
Placer County opens shelter in Kings Beach for people stranded in blizzard
6:30 p.m.: Placer County has opened an emergency shelter at the North Tahoe Event Center in Kings Beach to accommodate people stranded by the blizzard. A county news release notes that many people are unable to travel out of North Lake Tahoe because of highway closures. Parking is available at the center, 8318 North Lake Blvd.
Placerville declares state of emergency as storm exceeds capacity of wastewater plant
5:25 p.m.: The city of Placerville issued a news release declaring a local state of emergency due to the storm. The city reported that storm runoff is exceeding the capacity of its wastewater treatment plant, posing a danger to Hangtown Creek. Other problems cited include flooding on Smith Flat Road and a creek overflowing along Wiltse Road, as well and downed trees ant the potential for mudslides in several areas.
Two trees fall on houses in North Highlands; fire crews on scene
4:46 p.m.: The Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District tweeted that two trees fell on houses near San Vincente and San Novado ways in North Highlands, and a third tree appeared ready to fall.
Crystal Bay residents advised to stay indoors due to avalanche threat
4:30 p.m.: The North Lake Tahoe Fire Protection District issued a news release warning that increased wind speeds and snowfall rates in the Crystal Bay area over the past several hours have increased the potential for avalanches. The release noted that avalanches large enough to break trees and move cars have occurred in Crystal Bay under similar conditions. Residents were advised to stay indoors, and to stay away from uphill windows and doors. They also were advised to be alert to blocked vents due to accumulated snow.
Sinkhole closes freeway off-ramp in Nevada City
4:10 p.m.: The California Highway Patrol’s Grass Valley office announced that the Highway 20/49 off-ramp to Broad Street in Nevada City is closed because of a sinkhole developing near Broad and Sacramento streets. The CHP reported that portions of Sacramento and Nevada streets and Red Dog Road near the intersection are closed. Motorists are advised to use other routes.
El Dorado County declares state of emergency due to storm damage
El Dorado County announced that it has declared a local state of emergency because of damage to roads, bridges and other infrastructure from recent storms. The Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the declaration Tuesday after receiving a damage report from county staff members, according to a county news release.
Among the damage is the Cosumnes Mine Road bridge over the north fork of the Cosumnes River. Officials said water has washed away the soil from under the north bridge approach so it is no longer safe to cross. The bridge will be closed until the water recedes enough to allow an assessment.
Other areas with damage include Kyburz Drive, which was closed due to debris blocking a culvert and creating flooding, and numerous landslides on Salmon Falls and Rock Creek roads.
More Sacramento Weir gates to open
The state Department of Water Resources plans to open up to six additional gates about 3:30 p.m. on the Sacramento Weir. Seven weir gates were opened earlier Tuesday. Opening the extra gates onto the Yolo Bypass allows for flows coming down the American River as releases from Folsom Lake are increased, and for the DWR to maintain a consistent level of the Sacramento River at the I Street gauge, according to the agency.
Flooding closes Elk Grove roads
The city of Elk Grove Public Works Department reports that it has closed both directions of Kammerer Road between Lent Ranch Parkway and Bruceville Road as well as Bruceville Road between Kammerer and Bilby roads because of localized flooding. Traffic will be detoured onto Whitelock Parkway via Bruceville Road or Promenade Parkway during the closure, according to the city. There is no estimated time of reopening.
Highway 50 closes for avalanche work
Highway 50 has been closed again in the mountains, amid blizzard conditions, to allow crews to conduct avalanche control work in the steep canyon. Traffic is being held at Twin Bridges on the west slope and at Myers in the Tahoe Basin.
Interstate 80 remains closed over Donner Summit.
Garden Highway residents face rising Sacramento River
It was a helpless feeling for Tracie Cone and Michelle Peterson as they watched the flood waters rise around their elevated home on the Garden Highway on the Sacramento River northwest of the city. By late morning, their yard had disappeared under at least four feet under water. Adirondack chairs and tables and planters were floating away.
“I don't know whether we should stay here or not,” Cone said in the early afternoon. “We have heritage oak trees that have been sitting in water for a few days. I'm starting to worry about what will happen to their root systems."”
The home, which sits on stilts across the street from Teal Bend Golf Course, “should be fine,” Cone said. “Our house was built for this. It's performing well. It's solid.”
But watching the waters rise around and under it, she said, "has definitely gotten old very quickly."
Harvey the cat rescued from perch at flooded Discovery Park
Sacramento fire crews rescued “Harvey,” an orange tabby cat trapped Tuesday afternoon in flooded Discovery Park.
Initially, the wet feline was on what appears is a log surrounded by the waters of a swollen Sacramento River. As Sacramento Fire Department crews made an initial attempt to get close, the tabby decided to climb a nearby tree.
A representative from the Front Street Animal Shelter also stepped in to assist. Firefighter/Paramedic Darren Jacks went above the call of duty by climbing into the tree.
As the cat climbed higher, so did Jacks. With the animal control officer's lasso, Jack’s grabbed the feline and then brought the cat to the crew below.
The cat was placed in a pet transport box and taken by boat to safety by 1 p.m. Harvey is being evaluated by shelter officials.
Avalanche at Alpine Meadows damages homes
An avalanche late Tuesday morning near Alpine Meadows in the Sierra slightly damaged five homes and forced closure of Alpine Meadows Road, according to Placer County officials.
There are no reported injuries, officials said, but some houses suffered broken windows and other minor damage. The incident occurred at about 11 a.m. The Alpine Meadows ski resort has been closed all day due to blizzard conditions on the mountain.
Officials said that the slide of snow was a routine, controlled avalanche in a slide-prone area.
County recommends Wilton residents evacuate before floods
Sacramento County emergency officials are issuing voluntary evacuations for the residents of Wilton.
The Sacramento County Office of Emergency Services recommends Wilton resident evacuate during the daylight hours, according to a tweet from the National Weather Service. The most danger from flooding could occur during the night when evacuating could be difficult.
Official evacuations will be made through Sacramento-alert.org for affected residents, according to Sacramento OES.
It is also possible that roads could be flooded during evacuation if residents wait until nightfall.
The Cosumnes River is likely to overflow during the night and into Wednesday along the south banks, according to the weather service.
Flooding possible as Cosumnes River predicted to overtop banks
The National Weather Service is asking Wilton residents to consider evacuating because current forecasts show that the Cosumnes River could overtop its south banks Tuesday night.
The weather service is predicting rainfall all day Tuesday and into the nighttime hours. That could lead to the river cresting about 2 feet above flood stage at 8 a.m. Wednesday.
In the past, according to the weather service, when the Cosumnes River spilled over its south banks, homes were flooded in Wilton. During January 1997, 310 homes flooded in Wilton when the Cosumnes River overflowed or broke through its banks.
Flood stage is reached on the Cosumnes River when water depth exceeds 12 feet at Michigan Bar. The peak depth of the Cosumnes River at Michigan Bar during flooding in 1997 was 18.3 feet. The Cosumnes River is expected to peak tonight at 14.1 feet, according to the National Weather Service.
Tier 4 storm in South Lake Tahoe
South Lake Tahoe is being hit with a Tier 4 storm, which is the highest level storm, according to Tracy Franklin, the city’s public information officer. City snow removal crews are removing snow throughout the city, especially on these primary arterial and collector roadways:
▪ Pioneer Trail
▪ Al Tahoe Blvd.
▪ Tahoe Keys Blvd.
▪ Venice Drive
▪ Sierra Blvd.
▪ Ski Run Blvd.
Flooding on Raley Boulevard
There is localized flooding on Raley Boulevard between Santa Ana and Vinci avenues in Sacramento. A detour is available along Dry Creek Road, according to the Sacramento Police Department.
Highway 50 reopens, Interstate 80 remains closed as blizzard persists
Traffic is moving again on Highway 50 in the Sierra Nevada after officials reported avalanche worries had been alleviated.
Vehicles still must have chains on their tires from near Kyburz to Meyers. Snow has been falling all morning in the Sierra.
Interstate 80 is still closed down due to heavy, blowing snow in blizzard conditions. Caltrans has escorted fuel trucks into snowy Truckee.
The National Weather Service notes that in the last 24 hours 2-to-3 feet of snow has fallen in the Sierra. At Sierra-at-Tahoe along Highway 50, a total of 26 inches has fallen, while on I-80 at Squaw Valley ski resort a total of 27 inches has fallen.
Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows ski resorts are closed for the day. Heavy snowfall and high winds are reported at the resorts.
Highway 128 in Yolo closed due to road damage
Highway 128 in Yolo County is closed due to roadway damage from storms.
Caltrans said that the highway is closed from 6.4 miles east of Geyserville in Sonoma County to 3.2 miles west of Winters in Yolo County.
One especially obvious washout occurred west of Winters, where the asphalt roadway was suspended over a small gully.
Another snow day for students in Tahoe
Tahoe and Truckee schools will be closed Tuesday due to harsh weather.
The Tahoe Truckee Unified School District and the Lake Tahoe Unified School District announced on their websites that all schools and offices will be closed for the day.
According to the National Weather Service, a blizzard warning is in effect for the greater Lake Tahoe area.
High winds to howl Tuesday in Sacramento, Sierra Nevada
Along with heavy rain during the evening commute, look for high winds in the Sacramento region as a strong Pacific storm buffets the region.
A high wind warning has been issued for Sacramento and Yolo counties. Vehicles that have a high profile from the road surface are advised not to travel along the Interstate 80 causeway between Sacramento and Davis.
The National Weather Service is predicting winds from 23 to 31 mph in the Sacramento region. Gusts could blow as high as 46 mph Tuesday night.
In the Sierra Nevada, the wind is expected to howl. Gusts of 50 mph are forecast for the lower elevations and gusts of 65 mph or greater could blow at the higher elevations.
Blizzard, avalanche dangers in Sierra Nevada
Blizzard conditions developed overnight in the Sierra Nevada above 5,000-feet elevation. The National Weather Service reported zero visibility with heavy and blowing snow.
Interstate 80 was closed from Colfax to the Nevada state line due to reduced visibility. Highway 50 was being held for avalanche control measures from Twin Bridges to Meyers.
Avalanche, blizzard and winter storm warnings have been issued by the National Weather Service. The blizzard warning notes that through Thursday morning, 5 to 10 feet of snow could fall above 7,000 feet elevation. At Lake Tahoe, 3 to 7 feet could accumulate.
The forecast for the Truckee area for the next couple of days from the NWS:
Tuesday: Snow before 10am, then rain and snow. The snow could be heavy at times. Widespread blowing snow before 10am. High near 34. Breezy, with a southwest wind around 25 mph, with gusts as high as 50 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. Total daytime snow accumulation of 13 to 19 inches possible.
Tonight: Rain and snow, becoming all snow after 1am. The snow could be heavy at times. Widespread blowing snow after 1am. Low around 27. Breezy, with a southwest wind 20 to 25 mph, with gusts as high as 50 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. New snow accumulation of 8 to 12 inches possible.
Wednesday: Snow. Temperature falling to around 20 by 5pm. Breezy, with a southwest wind around 20 mph, with gusts as high as 35 mph. Chance of precipitation is 80%. New snow accumulation of 2 to 4 inches possible.
Wednesday night: Snow likely. Cloudy, with a low around 15. Southwest wind 10 to 15 mph becoming southeast in the evening. Winds could gust as high as 25 mph. Chance of precipitation is 70%. New snow accumulation of 3 to 7 inches possible.
Forecast calls for heavy rain in Sacramento
Another Pacific storm is moving across the area on Tuesday, dropping more rain on Sacramento.
Wind and rain have increased across interior Northern California. The National Weather Service is predicting precipitation will continue in the Sacramento region throughout the day. A wind warning is expected for after 10 a.m., as gusts reach as high as 43 mph.
The NWS is predicting up to two inches of rain in the valley and 3-to-6 inches of rain in the foothills.
After the break in the storms in Monday, widespread small river and stream flooding will become more of a possibility tonight, according to the weather service.
The detailed forecast for the Sacramento region for the next couple of days from the NWS:
Tuesday: Rain, with thunderstorms also possible after 4pm. Some of the storms could produce heavy rainfall. High near 54. Windy, with a south southeast wind 23 to 31 mph, with gusts as high as 43 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. New rainfall amounts between three quarters and one inch possible.
Tonight: Rain and possibly a thunderstorm before 10pm, then showers likely after 10pm. Some of the storms could produce heavy rainfall. Low around 47. Windy, with a south wind 28 to 33 mph decreasing to 20 to 25 mph after midnight. Winds could gust as high as 46 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. New precipitation amounts between three quarters and one inch possible.
Wednesday: A 50 percent chance of showers. Partly sunny, with a high near 54. South southwest wind 13 to 16 mph, with gusts as high as 22 mph. New precipitation amounts of less than a tenth of an inch possible.
Weir opens for first time in decade
Seven gates on the Sacramento Weir opened Tuesday morning to relieve pressure on levees downstream.
Department of Water Resources crews opened seven gates between 4 a.m. and 5 a.m. The opening of the weir has not happened in at least a decade.
“The gates popped right open,” said DWR spokesman Chris Orrock. “A couple of them stuck a little bit to start with but they had no problems getting them open.”
It is possible that more gates could be opened in the coming days, but there is no way to predict at this time if that will happen.
“It’s all based on the flow of the river and the height of the water,” said Orrock. “There are a lot of factors. If they increase the outflow from Nimbus, if they increase from farther north and depending on the storm that has already started, there is a possibility.”
The gauge at I Street on the Sacramento River had to reach 29.87 feet before the Sacramento Weir was opened.
Completed a century ago, the Sacramento Weir is 1,920 feet long. It consists of 48 gates, each gate with 38 vertical teeth that are a foot wide and 6 feet long.
The weir is located about 4 miles upstream of the Tower Bridge, about 2 miles upstream from the mouth of the American River. The weir diverts river floodwaters west down the mile-long Sacramento bypass to the Yolo bypass.