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Flood watch still in effect; 4 inches of rain left

By: Staff Report
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Update 9:30 Monday:   

The storm isn't over yet, forecasters predicted Monday morning. 

Another four inches of rain may fall to Auburn by Thursday afternoon. The good news: Monday should be mostly clear until four o'clock, with just .18 inches of rain before then. Another .30 inches could fall tonight, according to the National Weather Service. 

Interstate 80 is closed from Nevada Street to Colfax due to a mud slide; chains are required for drivers traveling eastbound from Nyack in Placer County to seven miles east of Truckee. 

You will be stopped at Applegate to confirm you have chains, if you're traveling east.

As for the rest of the week, Tuesday, about an inch and a half should fall consistently throughout the day. That pattern appears to hold steady 'til Wednesday at noon, when the rainfall may lighten to less than a quarter of an inch through Thursday. 

Monday through Wednesday, snow levels are expected to start between 4,000 and 5,000 feet, reaching down to 3,000 in Shasta County. Whiteout conditions remain on several highways and wind gusts could reach 40 to 60 mph in the valley. 

In all, expect the rain to taper off today, but with another storm mostly impacting Tuesday through Wednesday. Outside of flooding, heavy snow and strong winds, particularly over the Sierra, are the main concerns. Flooding will take several days to recede once the rain stops. 

Use www.quickmap.dot.ca.gov for the most up-to-date road conditions and sign-up for weather emergency alerts at www.placer-alerts.org.

The Weather Service in Sacramento continued warnings of floods throughout the region, sending in a release expectations of: 

  • Widespread flooding of urban areas, roadways, small streams, and main stem rivers
  • Enhanced downstream river flooding from flood control releases on numerous Sierra reservoirs
  • Mud and debris flows on burn scars from past 4 years
  • Rock and mudslides on mountain roadways
  • Downed trees and power outages from wind and saturated soils
  • Mountain travel hazards (chain controls, delays, accidents, closures, white-out conditions)

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Saturday update: 

National Weather Service wind and flood watch advisories were in place for the foothills and Sacramento Valley Saturday in anticipation of the strong storm arriving Saturday night and lingering into Monday.
   “(In terms of) precipitation totals, it is forecast to be a once in 20-to-25-year storm for areas south of Interstate 80 and a once in five-to-10 years for areas north of Interstate 80,” NWS meteorologist Idamis Del Valle said Saturday.
   After a lull Saturday afternoon and evening, heavy rain was forecast to move into the Auburn area overnight with 1 to 2 inches of accumulation as the “atmospheric river” of moisture kicks into gear.
   The heaviest rain is expected today, with 2 to 3 inches possible by late afternoon.
   After a break with just drizzle and showers after 4 p.m., expect a return of heavy downpours after 10 p.m. tonight, bringing another 1 to 2 inches of rain, according to the NWS forecast.
   “Auburn today through Monday looks to get about 4 to 6 inches of rain — perhaps 8 inches, Del Valle said.
   The rain will taper to showers Monday. But more heavy rain will move in Tuesday and Tuesday night.
   Temperatures on Saturday climbed back into the 50s and will reach the upper 50s today, Del Valle said.
   The warming trend means snow levels will rise to nearly Sierra summit levels.
   “The highest peaks could see some snow, but the precipitation will mostly fall as rain,” she said.
   The rainfall will be accompanied by wind gusts reaching 30 to 45 mph for the foothills and stronger in the Sierra.
   The flood watch is in place through Wednesday for low lying areas, creeks and streams. A flood warning is in place for the Truckee River, which is expected to crest at 7.5 feet this afternoon. Flood stage is 4.5 feet, the NWS said.
   According to the NWS flood alert, the last time the Truckee River rose above 7 feet was Dec. 31, 2005, when it crested at 7.1 feet.
   Temperatures will drop back into the low 50s Monday and Tuesday with snow levels dropping back down to the 4,000-to 5,000-foot level, Del Valle said.
   On Saturday afternoon, there were no Caltrans’ traffic restrictions for Interstate 80 and traffic was moving normally on I-80 through the Sierra. However, a high-wind advisory was in place for Bay Area bridges.
   According to a press release from the U.S. Forest Service Placerville office, officials were recommending that visitors stay away from the Eldorado National Forest this weekend.
   Crews will be closing gates, temporarily blocking roads, and posting caution signs in the higher risk areas such as the King Fire area but the entire forest is considered hazardous. This storm has as much potential as the 1997 flood that caused extensive damage to forest roads, Highway 50, and other natural resources, the release said.