Crews Scrambling to Pick Up Pieces Before Next Sierra Storm Hits

In News, Travel, Weather

Sticky snow blankets the trees and Yosemite Falls bus stop along Northside Drive. Photo by Edie Howe-Byrne.

Utility crews are scrambling to restore electricity and telephone services to thousands of customers throughout the Sierra after last weeks storm blanketed the Sierra and caused snow-laden trees to come crashing down atop power and phone lines.

The most recent wave of storms dumped 3-5″ of sticky snow in communities who normally only see a light dusting of snow causing the cancellation of school, closure of roads and tree limbs to break under the weight.

Higher in the Sierra the situation isn’t much better. The snow appears to be sticking to everything it touches. Trees around 4,000ft are coated with 12-18″ of heavy, wet snow causing them to bend and break. Snow laden trees, not normally a problem, are so heavy they bend over and touch power lines knocking them to the ground.

Truck after truck can be seen streaming into the Sierra as PG&E and AT&T crews from across the state race to repair as much of the damage as possible and restore service before the next wave of storms hit today. Today’s storms are forecast to bring more rain to the waterlogged coast and central valley communities and several more inches of snow in the Sierra.

The National Park Service in Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Parks has asked that a severe avalanche warning be issued for the area due to the large amounts of snow received and high winds. Back country travelers are being cautioned to approach avalanche zones with extreme caution.

Yosemite Roads reopened Saturday after heavy snow caused trees limbs to break blocking roadways into the park. Currently Highway 140 is open with no chain restrictions. Highway 41 and Highway 120 are both R2 with chains or 4-Wheel Drive with snow tires required. Roads in Yosemite Valley are listed as R0 with no chain restrictions currently.

Visitors should use extreme caution when entering on Highway 140 through the Merced River Canyon as the danger for an rock slide is extremely elevated due to the snow and inclement weather. Drive slow and watch for rocks in the roadway, especially on corners.

For more information:

PG&E Outage Map
Intellicast Doppler Radar
NOAA Special Weather Alerts
CDEC Real Time Show Depth – Tuolumne Meadows

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