Winter comes in with a splash




Residents above 2,500 feet elevation were shoveling snow, clearing downed branches and driving to work on icy roads this morning.

Most schools in Tuolumne County including Summerville Elementary, Summerville High, Mother Lode Christian, Twain Harte and Black Oak were closed today; Pinecrest and Sullivan Creek elementary schools were on late schedules.

In Calaveras County, only Mark Twain and Copperopolis elementaries were open.

The storm that hit Thursday night was the coldest in a series that has slammed California with wind and precipitation, causing power outages every day since Dec. 12.

It's not over yet.

The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning through tonight for occasional rain and snow. The snow level is expected to stay mainly around 3,000 feet, but could drop lower at times. Since Thursday, Tuolumne received 3 inches of snow, Groveland got 2 inches, Murphys escaped snow, but Arnold got 6 inches and Twain Harte got 8 inches.

The forecast for Saturday the first day of winter is mostly cloudy with showers likely, possibly mixed with snow above 2,000 feet.

A chance of rain and higher-elevation snow remains in the forecast each day through Thursday. On Christmas Day, precipitation is expected mainly in the morning.

Bert Sarver of Twain Harte is one of thousands of foothill and high country residents ready for a break.

"I've gotten 10 inches of new snow on my driveway since 8 last night, and I had just gotten all of the snow blown off it from the last storm," he said.

"And that's not all. I haven't had any (electricity) since 9 p.m. Now I have to blow the snow off the driveway again, and I can't even make myself a cup of coffee first."

At least two trees were downed in Sonora. One fell onto both lanes of Mono Way near the east entrance of Hospital Road about 4 p.m., detouring traffic for about two hours.

The Union Democrat
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