Rough Weather Ahead for Northern California

Share |
(Sacramento, CA)
Thursday, January 3, 2008

Tahoe-area officials are bracing for a storm that’s prompted a rare blizzard warning from the National Weather Service.  They’re hoping you’ll stay off the roadways unless it’s absolutely necessary.
CHP Officer Jeff Gartner says the last time the Tahoe region saw this much snowfall was over a decade ago.  He says this storm could be worse, because of the winds.
Gartner: “It’s gonna make visibility very, very difficult and probably close to zero in some spots.  Also, the high winds, there’s a chance for trees to fall down across the roadway.  If you can’t see where you’re going and there’s a tree in front of you, you’re not gonna see it until the last very second when you hit it – and the same thing w/ traffic, you’re not gonna see it until it’s already too late.” 
Gartner says if you do have to travel, make sure you’ve got food, water, blankets and a working flashlight.  He adds, bring your snow chains – and be prepared to sit and wait. 

In the Valley...

Meanwhile, Sacramento Valley officials expect heavy rain and fierce winds from now through the weekend.  The winds could gust as high as 60 miles an hour.
But Yolo County Emergency Services Manager Bill Martin says he doesn’t expect flooding like the big New Years storm two years ago.
Martin: “we’d had a fairly rainy season up to date in the 2006 storm.  We have not had that here, so our reservoirs and the streams are lower than normal.  The ground is not terribly saturated.  It was saturated back then.”
And, Martin predicts, the snow runoff will be smaller than two years ago, since the Sierra snowpack isn’t very high right now.
Still, local officials do expect some flooding in low-lying areas.  If a stream, canal or roadway near you has flooded in the past, Martin says there’s a chance it could once again.