Remnants of a second low-elevation snow storm that briefly brought rare snowglobe conditions to Angels Camp, New Melones, Columbia, Sonora and Jamestown were melting Monday, with sunshine and highs near 40 degrees offering a welcome break before the next storm comes Tuesday through Thursday.
Unlike consecutive storms Sunday and last week, the next system is expected to be a warmer atmospheric river storm, with little to no snow in Mother Lode foothill towns. A winter storm warning is in effect from 10 p.m. Tuesday to 4 p.m. Thursday for elevations above 4,000 feet in Calaveras and Tuolumne counties and the rest of the Central Sierra.
Utility workers and tree removal crews were busy Monday near downtown Sonora at locations including Snell Street across from Sonora High School and below West Bonanza Road in Sonora Community Estates. Xfinity crews with bucket trucks worked on overhead lines and poles on Snell. Below Bonanza, two men with a wood-chipper trailer worked next to a mature fallen oak that has uprooted and torn out a section of concrete-lined water ditch above Woods Creek.
Xfinity is a trade name for Comcast Cable Communications, which provides internet and other services in parts of the Mother Lode.
Most schools in Calaveras and Tuolumne counties were closed Monday for Lincoln’s Birthday. Tuolumne County government workers were told to start work at 10 a.m. Monday due to anticipated snow and ice remaining on local roads.
The storm that moved out Sunday left similar amounts of snow in downtown Sonora as last week’s storm, around 2.5 inches in depth, and it brought greater amounts to other places that rarely see snowfall, including Jamestown, Angels Camp and the shores of New Melones Reservoir, before most of it melted rapidly in sunshine Sunday.
The fresh snowfall Sunday also left thousands of homes and businesses temporarily without power in Calaveras and Tuolumne counties.
By midday Monday there were still pockets of outages, including more than 50 Pacific Gas & Electric customers in Jesus Maria, and scattered outages in Glencoe, West Point, Dorrington and Big Trees Village, Lakeside Terrace, east of San Andreas off Mountain Ranch Road, according to the utility.
Before noon Monday there were still about 25 PG&E customers north of Yankee Hill without power, and scattered outages near Gibbs Ranch, Columbia, Jamestown, Sonora, Phoenix Lake, Twain Harte, Mi-Wuk Village, Groveland and Pine Mountain Lake.
Pacific Gas and Electric staff told Tuolumne County officials crews were still trying to restore more than 55 customers in Columbia, Sonora, Twain Harte and Groveland.
Most roads in Calaveras County were plowed, cleared of downed trees and open, according to Josh Pack, the county’s public works and transportation director. Six Mile Road between Vallecito and Murphys remained closed and crews hoped to have it open later Monday, Pack said. Before 10 a.m., California Highway Patrol personnel requested county roads crews to come and sand Sheep Ranch Road near Algiers Street in Murphys because no cars were able to get through.
As of 12:30 p.m. Monday, it was not clear how many Tuolumne County roads remained closed due to unplowed snow, fallen trees or other storm-related issues.
Among neighbors-helping-neighbors stories that emerged over the weekend in Tuolumne County, there was a woman who recently moved to the area who also recently broke her ankle, so she couldn’t drive. She tried to call a cab Saturday to get to the grocery store because she hadn’t eaten in several days, Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Office staff said.
She then called the Sheriff’s Office and Deputy Jeremy Green called Frontier Cab, and the cab company was backed up with calls due to the storm. Green went to the store, bought the woman some things she could eat right away, including a rotisserie-roasted chicken and a burger and fries.
Sheriff’s Office staff posted photos to social media showing Green and the woman. They said the woman is named Christine and they declined to release heer full name or say where in Tuolumne County she lives.
It looks like “a pretty wet week” ahead with the next storm moving in Tuesday through Thursday, Cory Mueller, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Sacramento, said in a phone interview Monday.
Snow levels in Calaveras and Tuolumne counties are expected to be up around 3,500 feet Tuesday night and moving up higher to about 7,000 feet by Wednesday morning, Mueller said.
This next storm appears to be tracking far enough south to bring significant rains and more higher-elevation snow to the Mother Lode and the rest of the Central Sierra, Mueller said.
Overnight lows for the Sonora area will dip below freezing to 31 degrees early Tuesday, and then climb into the 40s early Wednesday and Thursday, and the high 30s early Friday and Saturday.
Principal watersheds for the Mother Lode, including the Stanislaus and Tuolumne river basins, were showing 27.7 inches of precipitation since the current water year started Oct. 1. According to the state Department of Water Resources, that’s 121 percent of average for the date Feb. 11. February could shape up as the wettest month of the water year so far. Nearly 10 inches of this water year’s precipitation have come in February as of Monday.
Contact Guy McCarthy at email@example.com or 588-4585. Follow him on Twitter at @GuyMcCarthy.