Sunday, September 21, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Drought-rattled state welcomes weekend storm

California Drought Rain

A woman crosses a Chinatown street decorated with lanterns Friday in San Francisco. AP photo

By
From page A2 | February 09, 2014 |

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Californians accustomed to complaining about the slightest change in the weather welcomed a robust weekend storm that soaked the northern half of the drought-stricken state Saturday even as rain and snow brought the threat of avalanches, flooding and rock slides.

In Willits, one of 17 rural communities that California’s Department of Public Health recently described as dangerously low on water, City Councilman Bruce Burton said he was cheered seeing the water levels in a local reservoir and his backyard pond creeping up and small streams flowing again. The city in the heart of redwood country usually sees about 50 inches of rain a year and was expected to get about four inches by Sunday.

“It’s guarded optimism. We are a long ways from where we need to be, but we have to start with some sort of a raindrop,” Burton said.

The storm that moved in Friday, powered by a warm, moisture-packed system from the Pacific Ocean known as a Pineapple Express, dropped more than 7 inches of rain on Marin County’s Mt. Tamalpais, an average of 4 inches in Sonoma County and one to three inches in San Francisco, San Jose and other urban areas as of Saturday morning, National Weather Service hydrologist Mark Strudley said.

With areas north of San Francisco forecast to see another few inches by Sunday, the downpour, while ample enough to flood roadways and prompt warnings that parched streams could be deluged to the point of overflowing, by itself will not solve the state’s drought worries, Strudley said.

“The yearly rainfall around here, depending on where you were, was less than 10 percent of normal,” he said. “The additions from this last series of storms and the totals are taking a dent out of it, but it is not a significant dent.”

The storm deposited a foot of snow of on the top of Lake Tahoe ski resorts that have relied on man-made snow for much of the season, and elevations above 7,500 feet were expected to get another foot or two by Sunday, said Holly Osborne, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Sacramento.

The additions, which followed some brief periods of snow in the last week, already have improved the outlook for the Sierra Nevada snowpack, which provides about a third of California’s water supply. When state surveyors last checked on Jan. 30, the snow pack was at 12 percent of normal for this time of winter. By Saturday, it was at 17 percent of normal.

“At least we are getting something versus nothing,” Osborne said.

While the fresh snow delighted skiers and resort operators, the Sierra Avalanche Center warned Saturday that the danger of avalanches, both natural and human-triggered, was high in a wide swath of the Central Sierra Nevada because wind had blown new snow onto weak layers of existing ice and rock.

Tiffany Morrissey, a Silicon Valley family doctor who was working on ski patrol at the Alpine Meadows resort Saturday, said several lifts and runs were closed as a safety precaution but that cars carrying people wanting a taste of fresh powder filled up the parking lots.

“It’s a heavy, wet snow, and because of the avalanche danger the lines are pretty long. But you could hear people having a great time out on the mountain,” Morrissey said.

Forecasters hope the storm portends an end to the persistent dry weather that has plagued the state for months and contributed to its drought emergency. Light precipitation is forecast for Wednesday and Thursday, and another storm is possible next weekend.

Southern California was expected to be mostly dry. Forecasters said measureable rain over the weekend likely would not fall farther south than San Luis Obispo and northern Santa Barbara counties as a ridge of high pressure pushes up from the south.

The same subtropical weather system marinating Northern California also brought a third straight day of unsettled weather to Oregon, where the powerful storm caused snow to fall in and around Portland, scattered power outages and ice-storm warnings

The National Weather Service said the Portland area should expect another 4 to 8 inches of snow through Saturday night and the Columbia River Gorge might get more. Meanwhile, freezing rain was expected in the wine country southwest of Portland to the lower Willamette Valley south of Eugene, triggering an ice-storm warning for a stretch of more than 100 miles.

“Snow is bad. But ice is worse,” Miles Higa, a National Weather Service meteorologist, said.

More than 3,000 people in the Portland region were without power Saturday morning, but most had the lights back before noon.

Despite its northern location on the U.S. map, Portland sometimes goes an entire winter without snow, and residents and businesses are not prepared to shovel their sidewalks. The Portland Art Museum, Multnomah County Library and many shops were closed.

For bicyclists, the weather even doomed the annual “Worst Day of the Year Ride.” Organizers had hoped to stage a 15-mile ride through downtown Portland after announcing Thursday that its more challenging 46-mile event through the hills of west Portland was canceled for safety reasons.

“Alas, Mother Nature wins this round,” organizers announced on the event’s website Saturday.

Comments

comments

The Associated Press

.

News

Elementary school counselors: necessary, but poorly funded

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
 
Bet Haverim hosts High Holy Day services

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A1

 
Teams assess damage as wildfire burns

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2 | Gallery

 
Driver arrested for DUI after Saturday morning crash

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2

Help raise funds for juvenile diabetes cure

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Jewelry, art for sale at Senior Center

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Davis Community Meals needs cooks

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
UC campus chancellors granted hefty pay raises

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

 
Send kids to camp!

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Da Vinci awarded $38,000 for restorative justice program

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A4

 
Hawk Hill trip planned Sept. 30

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Outdoor yoga marathon celebrates community

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

Wise words

By Sue Cockrell | From Page: A12

 
.

Forum

Awareness is key to this fight

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

 
Where is this going?

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: A6

We’re living in the Golden State of emergency

By Debra DeAngelo | From Page: A6

 
Options for protection come with flu season

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Are we there yet? Not enough hours in the day to goof off

By Tanya Perez | From Page: A6Comments are off for this post

 
Paso Fino — it’s not worth it

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

Archer will get my vote

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

 
It’s time for Davis Scouts to stand up for what is right

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A10

Mike Keefe cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A10

 
Building something at schools’ HQ

By Our View | From Page: A10

Don’t sell city greenbelt

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

 
Paso Fino project is flawed

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

Speak out

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

 
Maybe David can beat Goliath again

By Lynne Nittler | From Page: A11 | Gallery

.

Sports

DHS gets on its Morse to beat Edison

By Thomas Oide | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
JV Blue Devils drop low-scoring affair

By Spencer Ault | From Page: B2

 
Wire briefs: Giants rally falls short in San Diego

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Four local swimmers qualify for Olympic Trials

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3

 
Republic FC’s fairy tale season continues

By Evan Ream | From Page: B3 | Gallery

‘We’re a way better team’ than record, says UCD’s Shaffer

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B4 | Gallery

 
UCD roundup: Aggie men pound Pomona-Pitzer in the pool

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B4

Davis 15-year-old making a splash in European F4 series

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B8 | Gallery

 
.

Features

.

Arts

‘Ladies Foursome’ adds shows

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
.

Business

UCD grad’s startup earns kudos at TechCrunch event

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

 
Styles on target for November debut

By Wendy Weitzel | From Page: A7

MBI hires VP of marketing

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

 
Rob White: What is an ‘innovation center’?

By Rob White | From Page: A9

Taylor Morrison unveils new Woodland community next weekend

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A9 | Gallery

 
.

Obituaries

Carol L. Walsh

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics

Comics: Sunday, September 21, 2014

By Creator | From Page: B8