Tuesday Mar 22 2011
Stormy pattern continues through the week
By: Gloria Young, Journal Staff Writer
Storm downs trees at Indian Creek Golf Course
Don’t expect springlike sunny days any time soon. Storms lined up in the Pacific will bring more wind, rain and snow at least through early next week. Today’s weather system won’t be as intense as last weekend’s, “but the second punch will be just a strong,” forecaster Johnnie Powell at the National Weather Service office in Sacramento said Tuesday. Accompanying chilly temperatures will drop snow levels to the 2,500-foot range, with accumulations of 2-to-3 feet per storm at the highest elevations, he said. Along with heavy rain in the foothills, there will be sustained winds of 25 mph with gusts up to 40 mph today into Thursday. The Auburn area can expect a brief break Thursday morning before the second storm arrives midday, lasting into Friday. Then another system will pass through Saturday, Powell said. ”We’re (heading toward) one of the wettest March on record,” he said. The projected nearly 2 inches of rain for Auburn today through Friday will add to the 7.13 inches for the past 10 days and 40.87 for the season to date, per gauge readings taken at the Auburn municipal airport. At Indian Creek Golf Course in Loomis Tuesday, golfers had to navigate around two pine trees toppled by Saturday’s storm. “They are about 120 feet tall and blew down not more than 20 feet apart,” course superintendent Leonard Theis said. “One fell across the No. 7 green and the other is on the fairway. The ground is saturated and the combination of that, with the wind, was too much.” Theis estimates the uprooted trees left holes about six feet deep on the course. Fallen trees are not that rare during the winter at Indian Creek. “We’ve had four or five other big trees down this year,” he said. “The others were oak trees. These are the first pine trees. We’re prepared for it in December, January and February, but not into March.” The pine trees not only were beautiful, but also were home to several families of squirrels, he said. “When we get (the trees) cleaned up, there’s going to be a void there,” he said. The recent wet weather pattern is hurting business, too. “We’ve had more days than I can ever recall of basically the golf course being closed,” Theis said. “I’ve been in the business a lot of years at a lot of different courses and I don’t ever remember seeing anything like this.” At Caltrans, keeping roads clear during the continued weather onslaught is just part of the job, according to spokeswoman Carol Herman. “The priority is to keep Interstate 80 open and passable for the traveling public,” she said. To accomplish that, Caltrans is staffed 24-7 with permanent and seasonal employees for snow removal. Herman was not able to clarify what that means in overtime, “because the supervisor who tracks that is not in the office today.” She said. The storms haven’t necessarily increased traffic accidents in the Auburn area, according to California Highway Patrol spokesman David Martinez. “It varies,” he said. “Sometimes weather is a factor. For example, Thursday we had three major injury collisions on a dry day … none that had anything to do with the weather. It’s not the weather that causes accidents. It’s the people driving who cause accidents and they need to slow down.” CHP isn’t putting extra personnel on the highways during the storms. “Nothing changes. We still do our job,” Martinez said. “Just with our in-view patrol — that we’re out there and visible. That gets people to slow down.” The winter weather pattern is likely to continue for a while, according to Powell. “It’s hard to get out of that when you’ve got the same air mass,” he said. Reach Gloria Young at firstname.lastname@example.org.