Update 4:15 p.m.
Sandbags and sand have been depleted due to demand at all Calaveras County sandbag locations, county spokesperson Sharon Torrence announced this afternoon.
“Due to the recent storm activity, and high demand the county’s supply has been depleted,” Torrence said in a statement. “If you are in need of bags check with your local hardware store. In the event we are able to obtain more bags we will post that information both on the county home page.”
Meanwhile, as sprinkles, showers and spells of heavier rains taper off this afternoon and this evening, a flood warning for small streams and urban areas remains in effect through Thursday afternoon for southwestern Tuolumne County and Calaveras County.
Runoff from significant rains Tuesday and today will continue to work downstream in Mother Lode streams, creeks and rivers this evening and overnight into Thursday. More showers are possible tonight and tomorrow.
Peak flows on streams and small rivers up and down the Central Sierra have likely already occurred but flooding remains possible in unforeseen areas.
“Anyone living near a small river or stream should closely monitor and evaluate their flood risk and prepare to evacuate if flood waters threaten,” National Weather Service staff in Sacramento said today. “Be especially cautious at night when it is harder to recognize the dangers of flooding.”
Earlier today, before 8 a.m. near the top of Phoenix Lake Road, people could see Sullivan Creek cascading down a sheer cliff face, forming the waterfall that gives the Crystal Falls subdivision its name.
3 p.m. update:
The Sonora area received 4 to 5 inches of rain from 7 a.m. Monday through 7 a.m. Wednesday, National Weather Service staff in Sacramento say this afternoon.
During that same 48-hour window, Dodge Ridge off Highway 108 received 43 inches of snow, and Bear Valley Mountain off Highway 4 received 41 inches of snow, according to NWS updates issued today.
From Jan. 4 through today, Sonora received an estimated 7.6 inches of rain, and New Melones Dam and Angels Camp received an estimated 7.02 inches, said Michelle Mead, warning coordination meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Sacramento.
Staff at Dodge Ridge say the ski area near Pinecrest is open today with limited operations due to heavy snow conditions and high winds. Bear Valley is closed today.
A winter storm warning was in effect for the Central Sierra, including Dodge Ridge and Bear Valley, through Thursday afternoon. A blizzard warning for high winds and blowing snow in the Central Sierra expired earlier today.
Dodge Ridge closed Sunday, Monday and Tuesday due to rain and snow, and staff and a contractor there dealt with minor flooding in an administrative area in one of the resort’s buildings on Monday, said Jeff Hauff, advertising and creative director for Dodge Ridge.
Bear Valley closed Monday, Tuesday and today, said resort spokesman Marc Gendron. Update 1 p.m:
As of 1 p.m. today, more than 600 Pacific Gas & Electric customers were without power in Murphys, Mi-Wuk Village and the Sonora area, according to the utility.
The Sonora area outages were reported near Phoenix Reservoir at 11:47 a.m. and 69 customers were affected. A PG&E crew was assigned to assess the outages. An estimated time for restoring power was not available.
The Mi-Wuk Village outages were reported at 7:45 a.m. and 187 customers were affected. The cause of the outage was unknown, according to PG&E. An estimated time for restoring power was not available.
The Murphys outages were reported at 2:04 a.m. and 350 customers were affected. The cause was described by PG&E as damage to an underground power cable. An estimated time for restoring power was not available.
Update: 12:15 p.m.
The Tuolumne Branch Library is now closed due to leaks and storm damage, a county librarian says.
Shortly after 12 p.m. noon today, county officials announced the Tuolumne Branch Library, at 18636 Main St. in Tuolumne, will be closed for the remainder of this week due to storm concerns and major building repairs that need to be completed.
“There has been a leak that has been occurring every time it rains,” Lynn McCormick, youth literacy and outreach librarian for Tuolumne County, said in a phone interview. “But with these storms coming through now there’s major damage being reported. Leakage in the library that will start to damage library materials, including books and carpeting and walls.”
County facilities management staff were on scene at the library, McCormick said. There will not be a Friday story time this week. Staff with Tuolumne Branch Library hope to reopen on Tuesday, Jan. 17. For more information call the Sonora Main Library at (209) 533-5507.
Earlier today in the Mother Lode, in addition to a water main break and road washout on Five Mile Creek under Kewin Mill Road in Cedar Ridge, there was a mudslide blocking part of Phoenix Lake Road.
About 9:45 a.m., a backhoe operator and two workers with shovels were trying to clear a mudslide that blocked part of one lane of Phoenix Lake Road between Lori Lane and Silver Dawn Drive uphill from Phoenix Lake. There were two flaggers on scene directing traffic.
About 8:30 a.m., on Highway 108 between 5th Avenue and Rawhide Road in Jamestown, a worker jumped out of a Caltrans truck stopped in traffic and used his hands to scoop debris out of a pothole in the middle of the road.
There were three Caltrans trucks, one behind the other, in traffic at the location, with about 20 other vehicles behind the Caltrans vehicles. It was not clear what issue the Caltrans workers were trying to solve, but it appeared to be storm-related. They may have been doing real-time road repairs as off-and-on rains continued in the Mother Lode for a fifth consecutive day.
Posted 11:41 a.m. Jan. 11, 2017:
Drizzle, showers and spells of pounding rains since Friday, and runoff from storms in late December, have saturated soils in some Mother Lode locations to the point they are starting to wash out.
Pounding rains early today caused a creek believed to be called Five Mile Creek to swell up and tear out earth under Kewin Mill Road in Cedar Ridge. Erosion under the roadway also severed a water main first believed to serve 200 homes.
As of 11:15 a.m. today, a spokesperson with Tuolumne Utilities District said 15 homes were without water and the road was closed while TUD and Tuolumne County road workers assess the damage.
The broken water main and washed-out road were first reported about 2:15 a.m., according to Lisa Westbrook of TUD.
“Yes it’s a creek, I believe it’s Five Mile Creek, and it looks like a culvert possibly got plugged and caused the roadway to wash out,” Westbrook said. “Our pipeline was right under the section of road that washed out. It’s a water main. Serves about 15 homes, looks like.”
Westbrook said TUD hopes to have water service restored to the affected homes by 5 p.m. today.
“It’s been quite the storm,” Westbrook said. “We’ve had so much rain and snow and the roads can’t keep up sometimes. These things happen. We are working with the county. We’re not sure about when the road will be repaired.”
Elsewhere in the Central Sierra before noon today, staff at Dodge Ridge say the ski area near Pinecrest is open with limited operations today due to heavy snow conditions and high winds. Staff at Bear Valley have already announced their resort is closed today.
A blizzard warning for high winds and blowing snow in the Central Sierra was expected to expire at noon today.
Forecasters say spells of drizzle and showers may continue today for foothill towns along Highway 49 in Calaveras and Tuolumne counties. The Sonora area may get a half-inch to 1 inch of rain today and tomorrow.
Stay with The Union Democrat online for updates and further storm reporting later today.