Rain, flooding hit Sacramento region over weekend

Ashalana Mcclanahan and her friend were asleep Saturday night when rising water started seeping into her makeshift house on an island in the middle of Steelhead Creek in Sacramento.

By morning, after a night of raging storms, the house was partially filled with water and the creek was so high that they had to call for the Sacramento Fire Department to come rescue them. Like Mcclanahan, others around the Sacramento region had to deal with wet, stormy conditions again throughout the weekend after a few weeks of dry, sunny days.

After dropping 1.14 inches of rain on downtown Sacramento, the tail end of Saturday’s storm sprinkled 0.03 inches of rain early Sunday, according to the National Weather Service.

Rain returned Sunday afternoon, and an additional 0.75 inches was expected to fall by early Monday morning. Weather service meteorologist Travis Wilson said Sacramento should see about an inch of rain between Sunday morning and Monday afternoon, with the bulk falling Sunday night. A wind advisory was in effect from 4 p.m. Sunday to 4 a.m. Monday.

One woman drowned Saturday night while riding in a car that her friend drove into a flooded portion of Highway 70 in the town of Olivehurst in Yuba County.

Sacramento Municipal Utility District spokesman Jonathon Tudor said about 1,500 customers were still without power Sunday morning because of 70 remaining outages in several neighborhoods. Well over 100,000 SMUD customers lost power at some point during Saturday’s storm, he said.

Tudor said power was expected to be back in all the outage areas by Sunday night. He added that everything that would have been blown down by the upcoming storm may have already fallen the night before, so there should be fewer outages.

In spite of stormy weather, thousands gathered at the Capitol Mall on Sunday afternoon for the Capitol Beer Fest, the finale of Sacramento Beer Week. Rain fell intermittently throughout the event, which began at 1 p.m., and attendees huddled under umbrellas, ponchos and canopy tents to keep dry.

Maria Frye and Jamie Lucia said they were disappointed when they first heard about the rain forecast but came anyway. They’d already paid for the $40 ticket to get in.

“We just want beer,” Frye said.

Others said they weren’t bothered by the weather.

“The rain really hasn’t put a damper on the event at all,” said Crystal Young, as she and her husband sipped sampler glasses of a dark, locally brewed porter. “We don’t mind a little wind and rain. We’re out here for the beer, regardless of the weather.”

Out on Steelhead Creek, however, Mcclanahan said she started living in her hand-made house two months ago and didn’t expect flooding issues. Another rain storm might wipe the place out completely, she said, so she might have to find a new place to live.

Most of the storm fell as rain in the Sierra on Saturday, but it was predicted to dump between one and two feet of snow above 4,000 feet on Sunday, with the peaks possibly seeing as much as three feet. Chain requirements were in place on Interstate 80 at Kingvale, and on Highway 50 at Twin Bridges. The weather service was predicting major travel impacts in the Sierra starting late Sunday afternoon.

The Sacramento region should dry out by Monday afternoon, Wilson said. A weak wet wave is expected early Wednesday and a stronger band might come through Thursday night, but he said the timing was unclear.

“Let’s put it this way, by the end of April, we won’t be seeing rain again until Thanksgiving,” said weather service forecaster Johnnie Powell. “We should just be happy for the rain we’re getting now.”

Since Oct. 1, the rain total at Sacramento Executive Airport stands at 11.78 inches including Saturday’s rain, 1.44 inches below the level recorded this time last year. Normal rainfall for this time of year is 13.96 inches.

However, Saturday’s storm pushed the rain total for Jan. 1 until now to 8.34 inches, 0.66 inches above normal and 5.50 inches more than this time last year.

Ellen Garrison: 916-321-1920, @EllenGarrison

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