Sacramento County flood evacuations lifted, more rain expected this afternoon
A wild storm roared through Northern California early Tuesday morning, drenching an already soggy Sacramento region as it fueled another round of extreme wind gusts before sunrise.
The storm swept through the greater Sacramento, Stockton and Modesto areas between 3 a.m. and 4:45 a.m. The system triggered an early morning tornado warning in Modesto. Gusts of up to 54 mph were recorded around 3:40 a.m. at Sacramento International Airport, according to the National Weather Service.
The National Weather Service office in Sacramento said the immediate threat posed by the storm subsided around 5 a.m., but that the risk of road and river flooding will continue into Tuesday, with more heavy rain in the forecast. of the day in the middle of the last atmospheric storm of the rivers. . The Sacramento Valley remains under a flash flood watch until Wednesday afternoon.
“Most of the county saw anywhere from 0.15 inches to almost 0.4 inches” of rain during Tuesday’s storm, weather service meteorologist Katrina Hand said, after about an inch and 1½ inches of rain was recorded Monday near Sacramento.
Some of the heaviest rain fell near Mather Airport, where 0.41 inches fell early Tuesday morning as gusts peaked at 46 mph, Hand said.
More isolated thunderstorms remained possible Tuesday near Sacramento, with up to half an inch of rain expected even if no more storms materialize. According to weather service forecasts, the strongest winds are expected before 1 p.m.
The current atmospheric flurry is the latest in a relentless series of powerful winter storms that have battered Northern California since New Year’s Eve, with minimal relief between each successive storm.
At least five people have died in Sacramento County — three were swept away by flooding from the New Year’s storm in southern Sacramento County, followed by a homeless man and woman who had trees fall on their tents in incidents of special during last weekend’s storm.
The Sacramento River, swollen by recent storms, flows under the Tower Bridge as the setting sun reflects its golden paint Monday, Jan. 9, 2023. A nearby gauge showed the river at 27.7 feet, still below the monitor’s grade. .
Across the region, including downtown Sacramento and Land Park neighborhoods, uprooted trees have fallen on cars, homes and power lines several days this month.
President Joe Biden early Monday morning approved an emergency declaration for California “due to emergency conditions resulting from a succession of severe winter storms, flooding and mudslides.”
Here are the latest updates on the storm in the Sacramento region.
Wilton’s evacuation lifted, but county cautions
Sacramento County emergency officials on Tuesday morning lifted mandatory evacuations for the Wilton area, but warned returning residents to be on the lookout for localized flooding and hazardous road conditions as stormy weather continues this week.
The rural southern county community was ordered to evacuate Sunday night because of the “imminent” risk of flooding from another storm surge that hit Northern California starting Monday.
The county lifted the evacuation order, which included all of Wilton and several nearby areas, including parts of Elk Grove, just after 11 a.m.
Authorities said during a news conference Monday at Wilton Bridge that the Cosumnes River at Michigan Bar was expected to hit its flood stage of 12 feet around midnight or 1 a.m. Tuesday. The river eventually crested Monday night at just 10 feet and had dropped below 9 feet by Tuesday morning, according to observations from the California River Forecast Center in Nevada. The river is not expected to approach flood levels again this week.
County emergency officials in a news release Tuesday morning warned Wilton residents that weather conditions could change “rapidly,” with moderate rain and more storms possible in the coming week.
The county also advised that emergency responders and maintenance crews remain in the Wilton area. Additionally, the Sacramento Utilities District website as of 11 a.m. showed more than 900 homes and businesses in the Wilton area without power.
Flooding swept through Wilton and nearby parts of southern Sacramento County on New Year’s Eve, the first in a series of major storms to affect the Capital Region after levees failed along the Cosumnes River. The county after that storm placed Wilton under a shelter-in-place order, which was lifted last Friday after six days.
A repaired section of the Cosumnes River, where a break earlier this month caused flooding in Wilton, awaits the test of another storm Monday.
Big rig explodes on I-5 during storm
According to Caltrans and the California Highway Patrol, an “overflowing” large rig collapsed and was partially suspended from southbound Interstate 5 near the Yolo Bypass just before 4 a.m. The incident happened during the storm on Tuesday morning.
The southbound lanes were blocked, reopening shortly before 8 a.m. Minor injuries were reported, according to the CHP activity log.
Also during the storm, a large tree fell on Auburn Boulevard, a major thoroughfare in Citrus Heights, police said shortly before 4:30 a.m. The road was closed to traffic in both directions until shortly after 8:30 a.m. .
Due to power outages, Sacramento Regional Transit said service on its Green and Gold rail lines was temporarily suspended Tuesday.
In Rancho Cordova, police said all railroad crossing arms in the city “were bent and/or malfunctioning from overnight weather,” prompting officials to briefly ask drivers to use alternate routes. The wings were repaired and operating normally just before 10:45 a.m., police said in an update.
The man was rescued from the water near Discovery Park
A boat crew rescued a man from flooding at Discovery Park Tuesday morning, according to the Sacramento Fire Department.
Personnel in a life raft jumped into the high water at the park, which is located at the confluence of the American and Sacramento rivers, video posted by the Fire Department showed. The crew entered through an access point on the Garden Highway on the Sacramento River side of the park.
The man was evaluated and taken to a hospital, the Fire Department tweeted shortly after 10 a.m. His condition was unknown.
Fire crews used a chainsaw to clear part of a large, fallen tree from the entry point before positioning the boat, video showed.
Some Sacramento-area schools remain closed
All Sacramento City Unified School District campuses were closed Monday due to power outages and severe weather.
Five schools in the district remain closed Tuesday: Success Academy, Sutterville Elementary, Pony Express Elementary, Rosa Parks K-8 and John Morse Therapeutic Center.
Folsom Cordova Unified said Cordova High and Mills Middle, as well as Cordova Gardens and Peter J. Shields elementary schools, were closed Tuesday due to power outages and storm damage.
San Juan Unified reported two school closures Tuesday, its planned return from winter break, due to power outages: Grand Oaks Elementary, in Citrus Heights; and John Barrett Middle School, in Carmichael.
In El Dorado County, all Gold Oak Union and Lake Tahoe Unified campuses were closed due to weather and power outages, according to the county office of education. Pioneer Union Schools planned to start two hours late.
The Sci-Tech Academy, in Knights Landing, was closed on Monday and remained closed on Tuesday. Other Yolo County public schools were open.
Thousands without power across Sacramento
Approximately 15,000 Sacramento Municipal Utility District customers were without power as of 7:30 a.m. Tuesday, according to SMUD’s online outage map, with outages scattered throughout Sacramento County.
Total outages have fluctuated between about 15,000 and 40,000 customers since Monday morning.
After the extreme storms early Sunday morning, nearly 350,000 homes and businesses – more than half of SMUD’s service area – lost power.
Pacific Gas and Electric Co. as of Tuesday morning it reported about 93,000 customers without power across California.
Most of the PG&E outages were in the greater Bay Area, including nearly 45,000 without power in Santa Clara County, nearly 14,000 in Santa Cruz County and more than 11,000 in San Mateo County.
Snow blankets the Sierra Nevada mountains, with more to come
More heavy snow is expected Tuesday in the Sierra Nevada mountains, with the weather service predicting at least 1 foot of snow by Wednesday morning across the central Sierra area, with much more possible at higher elevations.
The UC Berkeley Central Sierra Snow Lab tweeted Tuesday morning to expect anywhere between 18 inches to 3 feet of fresh snow by Wednesday morning.
The lab, which is located near Donner Pass, recorded more than 9 inches of snow between Monday and Tuesday morning, for a total of about 42 inches over the past five days.
Mountain travel is strongly discouraged, with Caltrans live traffic cameras showing whiteout conditions on parts of Interstate 80.
When will the rain and wind stop?
Another tropical storm is poised to hit California around midweek, but its impacts are expected to be concentrated further north in the capital region.
Rain is likely to continue Wednesday in Sacramento, with the latest forecasts showing roughly a quarter inch of rain possible. Speed can reach 30 mph again.
Precipitation should ease to a slight chance of rain by Thursday, with winds also easing near Sacramento, weather service forecasts show.
Wetter weather is possible Friday and into the weekend, with amounts still unclear.