Another storm, warmer and wetter than the last, is expected to move into the Mother Lode tonight and Wednesday, and a second storm is expected to come on its heels sometime Thursday with showers lingering into Friday.
The first five weeks of 2017 have brought significant spells of rain and snow to the Central Sierra and its foothills. Saturated ground and additional runoff are continuing to cause problems for some residents and businesses, including increased underground water movement, destabilized roadside slopes and rockslides in some areas.
George Clark, 76, is worried about runoff, above ground and underground, at property he rents in Cascade Mobile Home Park off Wards Ferry Road. He owns his mobile home, but he’s concerned he won’t be able to sell it if there are flooding issues on the site he rents.
Clark on Monday showed where sandbags have been laid and ditches have been dug to try to reduce runoff on his rented property.
He said he’s had visits from the property owner and a representative from the State Water Board.
“The park is working on it, and I appreciate it,” Clark said. “But what I’m concerned about is I’m old and my health is bad and I’m thinking about selling so I can move back east to be with family. This could be a problem that devalues my home if I want to sell.”
Clark said he suffers from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, which makes breathing difficult, and diabetes. He said he uses tanked oxygen 24 hours a day. A representative for the mobile home park could not be reached for comment.
Basement flooding occurred below at least one property in downtown Sonora last month. Stephen Dietrich, owner of 74 and 76 S. Washington St., used a pump and a hose to drain flooding to a storm drain on South Green Street. Dietrich said he believed the flooding was coming from an underground stream.
Fractured rock seams and veins underlie much of the land surface in the Mother Lode.
Geologists and hydrologists say the same fractures that make identifying reliable springs for wells so challenging can also wreak havoc when the wet season brings weeks and weeks of rain and runoff.
Unstable roadside slopes have caused problems on Highway 4 and on the Highway 120 route to Yosemite National Park.
Highway 4 is closed from 2.4 miles west of the Highway 89 junction to the junction itself due to a mudslide, according to Caltrans District 10 staff. Higher up Highway 4 is closed for the winter due to snow.
In Yosemite, a mudflow-rockslide occurred Sunday morning on Big Oak Flat Road between Crane Flat the Foresta Junction, said Scott Gediman of park public affairs. Park staff were assessing the slide Monday afternoon. The road was expected to remain closed through at least this morning.
The Hetch Hetchy Road off Highway 120 remained open. The slide closure on Big Oak Flat Road means there is no access to Yosemite Valley from Highway 120. Highways 140 and 41 into the park remained open Monday.
From San Andreas to Sonora and Groveland, there’s a flood watch in effect today through 4 p.m. Friday as the next rounds of rain and snow move across the Mother Lode.
An advisory for gusting winds remains in effect until noon today. More tree limbs could come down, causing outages and road closures. As of Monday afternoon, Pacific Gas & Electric crews were dealing with outages reported in Jamestown, Arnold, near Mokelumne Hill and Valley Springs.
The storm expected later today is billed by forecasters as warmer and wetter with increased flooding potential, especially on undammed rivers, streams and roads.
The storm coming Thursday is expected to unload its heaviest rains the first day. Showers may remain into Friday. Daytime highs today through Friday for foothill towns like Angels Camp and Jamestown are expected in the 50s with overnight lows in the high 40s.
Saturday and Sunday are forecast as mostly sunny and sunny.