Foothills could see white holiday

December 22, 2002 11:00 pm

By LENORE

RUTHERFORD

Sonora could have a white Christmas.

"We are forecasting the snow level around 2,500 to 3,000 feet," National Weather Service Meteorologist Ron Lam said this morning, "but if the clouds come in today and trap cold air in the valleys, it could go much lower."

He said if the skies stay clear tonight, chances are the snow level will stay about 3,000 feet.

The National Weather Service forecast is for increasing clouds starting late tonight with rain, possibly mixed with snow, arriving by Tuesday evening.

"The snow level will rise to at least 3,000 feet again during Christmas Day," he said.

The forecast is for rain and higher elevation snow again Thursday and Friday, and the chance of more precipitation each day Saturday and Sunday.

The snow level was about 3,000 feet in Calaveras and Tuolumne counties this weekend.

This morning, Arnold had about a foot of snow, and there were about 98 inches at the Mt. Reba turnoff.

There were 25 inches of snow at the Yosemite Park boundary on Highway 120 this morning.

Twain Harte and Mi-Wuk Village each had at least a foot of snow this morning with more in some areas.

Almost half of the more than 1,600 PG&E customers in Tuolumne County's high country who had been without power for a full week had their power restored Sunday. Power was expected to be restored to the remainder this afternoon.

"We hoped to get power back on for all of them Sunday," PG&E Spokesman Mark Hendrickson said, "but a tree fell in the Pinecrest area Sunday and broke a line that had just been strung."

He said 981 high country PG&E customers were without power this morning.

The power outage was caused by high winds Dec. 16 that sheared 14 power poles off at the ground on a remote ridge near Strawberry.

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