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A soggy day (in Auburn town)

Rain swells creeks, trees dropping, another round as early as Thursday
By: Gus Thomson of the Auburn Journal
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One more storm down. Another on the way.

It’s a regular occurrence at the start of 2016 as drought gives way to more normal conditions.

On Tuesday, with the ground in Auburn sopping up water like a sponge until steady rainfall started to pour off, Auburn Ravine was inching steadily higher toward Auburn Ravine Road.

So were rain totals.

Auburn Municipal Airport measurements recorded by the National Weather Service by mid-afternoon Tuesday showed a 24-hour total of 0.71 inches and a 48-hour aggregate of 1.9 inches. With a series of ‘pulse’ storms coming and going over the previous five days, the 120-hour total rainfall added up to 2.63 inches in Auburn.

Meteorologist Eric Kurth said storms have arrived in Northern California in a series of waves, which allow creek levels to go down and ground to soak up moisture before the next round of precipitation hits.

Another sign of saturation – a tree uprooted by a combination of strong winds and weak ground – lay already cut into logs by midday Tuesday at the corner of Cleary Drive and Channel Hill Road.

Jim Lawson, a resident of the Bowman-area street where the pine fell, said the tree had grown in two directions and each large trunk fell onto the road during the rain, blocking traffic until a Placer County crew could cut and clear it away.

A falling limb also caused a power outage off Nevada Street, near McClung Street on Tuesday – one of several reported in the Placer County area.

Pacific Gas & Electric Co. is warning people seeing a downed power line like the one on Nevada Street to think ‘safety first.’

That means assuming that it is energized and keeping yourself and others away. The 911 emergency phone numbers should be called immediately followed by 1-800-743-5002. That’s the PG&E 24-hour emergency and customer service line.

And PG&E is also reminding foothills residents to stay away from flooded areas and downed trees during and after a storm because it could be hiding an energized power line.

The National Weather Service is forecasting the next storm to arrive late Thursday and remain in the area through Saturday. It will be a wet or slightly wetter than Tuesday’s storm but with snow levels expected to rise to 6,000 or 7,000 feet on Friday, should have limited impact on mountain vehicular travel. The snow level will drop overnight Friday into Saturday to 4,000 to 5,000 feet.

Snow depths and snow water-content being measured Tuesday in the Sierra by remote sensors showed levels about 10 percent above average, Kurth said.

Starting Thursday, small rivers and streams could experience renewed rises from additional runoff, the weather bureau states. Gusty winds could also cause local power outages.

The dry weather predicted for late Thursday is expected to return Sunday and Monday.