A multi-day storm that’s expected to clear out of the Mother Lode later today or tonight battered Calaveras and Tuolumne counties on Friday, with heavy snow collapsing a roof and trapping a woman in Hathaway Pines, and outages leaving more than 1,100 Twain Harte residents without power.
The roof collapse was reported at 11:08 a.m. Friday at 5416 Highway 4 in Hathaway Pines, right around the snow line as rain and snow combined to weigh heavily on many trees and rooftops up and down Highway 4, Ebbetts Pass Fire District Chief Mike Johnson said in a phone interview.
“It came in as a roof collapse with someone entrapped,” Johnson said. “We had mutual aid response with two engines, two ambulances and a battalion chief from Ebbetts Pass, and one engine and a battalion chief from Cal Fire.”
Ebbetts Pass Fire personnel were first on scene, identified the collapse and relayed it to all responders, and established direct communication with a woman trapped inside a bedroom in a single-story home, Johnson said.
She was awake and alert and trapped, but she was able to talk with rescuers the whole time, Johnson said. There was about 12 inches of fresh, wet, heavy snow on other roofs, and there was a lot of fresh, wet, heavy snow in trees in the neighborhood.
Firefighters shored up part of the collapsed roof and eventually got the woman out safe and uninjured, Johnson said. She was free about 25 minutes after the initial dispatch on the call. She appeared to be in her 50s or 60s.
“There’s heavy, heavy snow at lower elevations,” Johnson said. “The snow on the roof that collapsed may have been a bit wetter and therefore heavier because of the mix of rain and snow today. I can’t say that's the cause. Sometimes the trees have a lot of snow and it falls off suddenly and that can also result in roof collapses. It was the weather, that’s for sure.”
As of 5:30 p.m. Friday, there were more than 1,100 Pacific Gas & Electric customers without power in the Twain Harte area. One outage had 749 customers affected and another had 354 customers affected.
There were other scattered outages reported in the Phoenix Lake-Cedar Ridge area and up around Sugar Pine.
At 4:13 p.m. a non-injury traffic crash was reported at Phoenix Lake Road and Paseo de los Portales, and at 3:13 p.m. Old Priest Grade was closed at Highway 120, California Highway Patrol personnel in the Sonora area reported.
Earlier Friday, Johnson said knock on wood, his department hadn’t had to deal with any major traffic incidents yet.
“If you’re visiting the mountains come prepared with extra blankets and make sure your vehicle is up to it, with all season tires in good shape,” Johnson said. “Carry chains, and dress warm. People very young and very old need to take even more care in the cold, wet weather.”
Forecasters said the Sonora area could 1 inch to 2 inches of rain Friday into Saturday. Ebbetts Pass, Sonora Pass and Tioga Pass could get 2 feet to 3 feet snow by Saturday night. There’s a 50 percent chance of rain or snow Saturday in Sonora and a 50 percent of rain showers Saturday night.
Overnight lows Saturday night in Sonora are expected to dip below 30 degrees Fahrenheit before sunrise Sunday. Snow levels could come to 2,000 feet. Dry weather returns Sunday and Monday. More rain and snow could come later in the week.