Monday Mar 19 2012
Workers repair site of Newcastle mudslide
By: Sara Seyydin Journal Staff Writer
Severe storm filled reservoirs, ski resorts
Crews were working Monday to permanently stabilize the site of a mudslide that occurred Saturday night in Newcastle, one effect of last weekend’s storm. “The whole hill came down at the corner of Powerhouse and Oak Terrace,” said Patricia Gibson, who lives on the street. “The land just gave away.” Pat Ferreira, a supervisor for Robinson’s Sand and Gravel said heavy rainfall from the storm caused the mudslide. Local meteorologists say they agree the rain could have caused the incident, while ski resorts say the storm was positive for them because it doused the Sierra with several feet of fresh snow. “It’s just from a lot of water in a short period of time on an old, established fill and it just slipped,” Ferreira said Monday. “We are using a lot of large quarter ton and half ton boulders and excavators and backhoes, straw and jute blankets.” George Fator said the mudslide is partially on his property, his neighbor’s property and a driveway owned by another neighbor, who lives further up Oak Terrace. He said he didn’t see the mudslide happen firsthand, but witnessed the damage it left in its wake, including temporarily shutting down traffic on Powerhouse Road. “It blocked off Powerhouse,” Fator said. “It just looked like that was a creek going across there. It was all mud.” Fator said he thinks the mudslide was caused by the original road not being stabilized correctly when it was put in, but is glad to see it’s being filled in properly. Paul Ferreira, who was using a backhoe Monday afternoon to fill in the side of the hill with boulders, said the mudslide was minimal in scope. “It is something that happens every year someplace,” Paul Ferreira said. “The canal went out last year in Colfax. It’s pretty minor compared to blocking Highway 50 or (Interstate) 80.” Tom Dang, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Sacramento said while the storm may have caused some damage, it helped stabilize lower than average water levels. The Auburn area received about 7 to 8 inches of rainfall over the past week, he said. “If you are getting the precipitation rates necessary, you can get something like a mudslide,” Dang said. “We are still running in a precipitation deficit. It has just been dry for so long this winter it is going to be really hard to catch up. This actually did really well for our water storage.” Folsom Lake was among the reservoirs recharged, he added. For this week’s forecast, he is calling for minimal showers through Thursday and storm activity over the weekend. “This week doesn’t look like anything compared to the strength of last week,” Dang said. Some areas of the Sierra saw 108 inches of snow, Dang reported, giving resorts a reason to celebrate the storm. At Sugar Bowl Resort the last round of storms dealt snow-sport enthusiasts 67 to 95 inches of snow, according to Heather Graziano, public relations and communications director. She said this last weekend was the most snow the resort received at one time this winter. “People were very excited,” Graziano said. “People have been posting videos and comments to Facebook.” Fator said overall he wasn’t too upset about the mudslide that occurred partially on his property and said his neighbor is paying for the repairs. “Your mind is a little inconvenienced,” Fator said. “It doesn’t look like anything happened to the road, but if they didn’t take care of what happened, it would have been bad.” Reach Sara Seyydin at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow her on Twitter @AJ_News.