Storm door open wide for Placer County, Auburn area

Heavy rain, strong winds to continue off and on through Sunday
By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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Be prepared

The county Office of Emergency Services advises every household to have the ability to sustain itself for at least five days without services in case of emergency.

Some of its recommendations are:

n Every family needs a readiness plan, and should teach children what to do

n Store enough extra drinking water for each person to have one gallon available each day

n Have a five-day supply of ready-to-eat nonperishable foods, as well as can openers, matches, knives, foil and plastic bags.

n Buy extra batteries and flashlights

n Before a storm hits, clear rain gutters, repair roof leaks and cut away branches that could fall on houses or other structures

n Have battery-operated TVs, radios or mobile communication devices such as smart phones on hand

n Know how to turn off water, electricity, propane and natural gas coming into homes

Source: Placer County Public Information Office




AUBURN CA - Placer County and the Auburn area were pounded with wind and rain Wednesday.

And the National Weather Service is warning that the area will continue to be battered by storms off and on through the weekend.

The weather bureau said that from 0.4 to 0.87 inches of rain fell in Auburn in the 24-hour period up to mid-afternoon Wednesday.

Stefanie Henry, a meteorologist with the Sacramento Weather Service office, said that the next punch of precipitation off the Pacific should reach Auburn on Thursday afternoon or evening.

“It will bring significant precipitation and then continue on through Friday,” Henry said.

But the rainy weather won’t stop there.

“A new band will come through late Saturday into Sunday,” Henry said. “Basically, it’s going to be raining pretty much continuously, with lighter rain interspersed with heavier downpours.”

In all, Auburn can expect from 6 to 7 inches of rainfall between Wednesday and Sunday, Henry said.

The annual Festival of Lights parade in Downtown Auburn has already been postponed from Saturday to Dec. 8 because of the predicted onslaught of wintry weather that roared into the area Wednesday.

Placer County officials are warning residents to be prepared.

That includes not just planning for the storms over the next four days but also getting ready for the possibility of heavy snow, major power outages, high winds, downed trees, localized stream flooding and other challenges in the months ahead, county Assistant Director of Emergency Services Rui Cunha said.

“So it’s important that residents be ready for whatever happens,” Cunha said. “Preparedness and planning also bring peace of mind.”

At Sierra Saw power equipment dealership in Auburn, the generators were on display Wednesday but the store’s Danny Miller said they weren’t generating sales – quite yet.

Superstorm Sandy and the damage it wrought on the East Coast had led to a surge in generator sales in that region as millions had to contend with being without electricity for several days. Miller said that activity in Auburn had been limited to people stopping by to look and price.

But experience from previous blackouts in the region presages another storm surge of generator buying this time around if an electrical grid goes down in snow-prone communities, he said.

“People will start to buy when the power is out for a few hours and they don’t know when it will come back on,” Miller said.

Pacific Gas & Electric Co. had assembled extra crews in the Auburn area to get at power cuts early.

To PG&E’s advantage, the weather service is forecasting that snow levels will stay high throughout the storm. High temperatures are predicted to hover in the low-to-mid-50s in Auburn.

Snow is expected to fall no lower than the 6,500-foot in the Sierra through the weekend, Henry said. Foresthill, by comparison, is at 3,000 feet above sea level. Auburn is at 1,234 feet elevation.

The weather service has issued a flood watch, which will be in effect from Thursday to Monday.  But the heaviest precipitation is expected north of Placer County.

Placer County issued a statement warning that rainfall accumulations are still expected to be significant in the area.

“Localized flooding is likely, including ponding on roadways, minor flooding in low-lying areas, clogged drains and backyard flooding,” the county release states.