Tuesday Jan 19 2010
Wild weather week brings new blast of wind, rain, snow to Auburn, foothills, Sierra
By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
Two storms down. Two to go. Auburn and the foothills were buffeted by a second strong storm surge today, with as much as eight-tenths of an inch of rain falling in some areas and strong winds gusting to an estimated 40 mph or more in the morning. Upper elevations also felt the wind but ski resorts were celebrating the storm – and the new snow that came with dropping temperatures. The wild weather week winds up on Thursday with yet another stretch of wind and rain. Karl Swanberg, of the National Weather Service, said the storm should be colder than the previous three. The first storm on Monday brought snow to elevations above 6,000 feet and each successive one has been bringing the snow level down. Thursday’s snow level should drop to as low as 2,000 feet, which could mean snow in parts of Meadow Vista as well as significant levels of the white stuff in Foresthill and Colfax. Alpine Meadows ski resort reported two feet of new snow on the ground after two days of storms, with wind gusts as high as 70 mph at 2 a.m. that decreased as the day wore on. The weekend will see the storm activity wind down and a forecast that includes no precipitation Sunday. “I can put my ear to the ground and hear the rumbling noise of people coming to Tahoe,” said Alpine Meadows spokeswoman Rachael Woods. Woods reported that the snowfall was steady throughout the day and roads were cleared, allowing plenty of skiers to flock to the slopes. Homewood resort, at Lake Tahoe and sheltered from much of the wind, was particularly popular with skiers and boarders, she said. Ken Grehm, Placer County public works director, said the county was kept busy both at higher elevations with snow plowing and lower down in the valley, because of trees and limbs that had fallen in the strong winds. The National Weather Service recorded strong wind gusts and heavy rain throughout the area. Winds were recorded at 51 mph at the Sacramento International Airport and 44 mph at Lincoln just before dawn. Auburn Airport recorded six-tenths of an inch of rain during the storm while a measurement on the American River canyon side of Downtown Auburn showed about eight-tenths of an inch. Swanberg, a Sacramento weather bureau meteorologist, said two more storms are lined up in the Pacific to move in on consecutive days, starting Wednesday. The next round of rain, wind and snow arrives late Wednesday morning. Swanberg said it’s forecast to bring even stronger winds. A high-wind watch has been posted. “The one has the potential to be the windiest,” Swanberg said. Tuesday’s storm also had its odd moments. Swanberg noted that two inches of penny-sized hale fell in Vacaville, resulting in multiple car crashes.