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More rain, snow on track for region this week

Weather blamed for power outage to 1,000 customers in Auburn, 1,000 in Garden Valley
By: Gloria Young, Journal Staff Writer
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A series of storms that brought more than 2 inches of rain to Auburn over the past week will drop another 2 1/2 to 3 inches through Thursday, according to the National Weather Service. “There’s one main low and it is spinning off waves like bicycle spokes,” forecaster Johnnie Powell said Monday. The valley and foothills can expect periods of light to moderate rain during the next few days, with occasional breaks, he said. The storm system is fairly significant for late winter, packing sustained southeast winds of 30 to 35 mph, with gusts to 40 mph. It likely will bring another 4 feet of snow at the highest levels of the Sierra, with snow levels dropping from 6,000 feet to 5,000 feet today as cold air moves in, Powell said. The recent snowfall has been a boon to area ski resorts. “Snow, snow and more snow is in the forecast this week as a series of storms makes way across the region. Ski resorts are reporting up to a foot of new snow in the last 24 hours, on top of 10-plus feet for the month of February,” North Lake Tahoe Recreation Update spokeswoman Pettit Gilwee said in an e-mail Monday. The weekend storm pattern was blamed for scattered power outages to approximately 1,000 customers in the Auburn area. An additional 1,000 customers in Garden Valley lost power for a short time Monday afternoon. By 4 p.m. electricity had been restored to all but about 50, PG&E spokesman Brian Swanson said. Swanson advised residents to be prepared for possible outages by having fresh batteries on hand for flashlights and radios. “We recommend they do not use candles due to fire danger,” he said. “We also remind customers if they see a downed power line to always assume it is live and carrying electricity. We want customers to stay away from power lines and keep others away. Call 911 and PG&E to report power lines that are down.” This week’s continued storminess may bring more power outages. “We understand there’s heavy rain and heavy winds that are about to impact our service area over the next day or two,” Swanson said. “So we’re mobilizing our crews to be able to respond to outages wherever they occur.” The downpours also are taking a toll on area roadways. The California Highway patrol advised motorists to be on the lookout for rocks the size of bowling balls on Old Foresthill Road at Highway 49 Monday. The report, issued around 1:50 p.m., indicated the debris was likely the result of a mud, dirt or rockslide. The hazard was cleared by early evening, according to CHP dispatch in Sacramento. During the 24 hours from Sunday into Monday, Auburn saw .92 inches of rain. The total for the reporting year dating from July 1, 2008, is 17.48 inches, according to the Journal rain gauge. The Journal’s Gloria Young can be reached at gloriay@goldcountrymedia.com