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The latest on major Northern California news events from the Bee newsroom.

November 30, 2012
Roadway flooding, minor accidents reported in Sacramento area

Although rain tapered off this afternoon in the Sacramento area, the California Highway Patrol has been responding to a number of minor collisions and reports of local roadway flooding.

In El Dorado County, a vehicle ended up in a creek at Highway 49 and Forgotten Loop, between Coloma and Pilot Hill. CHP spokesman Officer Frank Rodriguez said the driver was trapped in the vehicle for a time and has been taken to Marshall Hospital in Placerville with minor injuries. He said alcohol may have contributed to the incident, which was reported shortly after 2 p.m.

For information on traffic incidents and roadway hazards, see the California Highway Patrol's Traffic Incident Information Page.

November 30, 2012
Caution urged along American River: Flows increase tonight

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation will boost water releases from Folsom and Nimbus dams into the American River in response to heavy rainfall delivered by Friday's storm.

Flows will ramp up slowly, starting at 8 p.m. Friday, from 1,800 cubic feet per second to 5,000 by 10 p.m.

The river level is expected to increase by about 2 feet, inundating many shoreline areas that are now exposed. People recreating along the river in the Sacramento metro area are advised to be aware and cautious of this change in water levels and flow velocities.

November 30, 2012
Weather won't stop Sacramento's Santa Parade on Saturday

By Richard Chang

The 30th annual Santa Parade will go on rain or shine Saturday, organizers said today.

Featuring floats, marching bands and youth groups, the parade kicks off its downtown route at 10:00 a.m. from 14th and N streets alongside Capitol Park. The route travels west on N Street to 9th Street, north on 9th to L, and west on L Street to 4th Street. The event has been cancelled only once for bad weather.

"Wind is the only reason we would cancel," said parade organizer Laurie Hensley. The highlight of the parade is a special visit from Santa Claus. The announcers' stands will be at 11th and N streets and 5th and L streets.

In past years, the parade has drawn more than 20,000 onlookers. But Hensley said the showing tomorrow is "anybody's guess."

November 30, 2012
Sierra ski resorts cheer heavy snows

By Richard Chang

Sierra Nevada ski resorts are celebrating the heavy snow piling up on their peaks from a series of wet winter storms sweeping across California.

Though snow levels have been mostly above 7,000 feet with these storms, that is still low enough to drop a lot of snow on the ski areas, which are eager for it after relatively sparse snow conditions last year.

"It's been snowing all day, all night," Russ Pecor, spokesman for Heavenly Mountain Resort in South Lake Tahoe, said Friday. "We've got about a foot of new snow in the upper mountain. We could reach 18 inches by the end of the day."

November 30, 2012
California roundup: Storm brings intense rain, flood warnings


The Associated Press

The second in a series of storms slammed Northern California on Friday as heavy rain and strong winds knocked out power, tied up traffic and caused flooding along some stretches.View image

The weather also may be behind the death of a Pacific Gas & Electric worker in West Sacramento who was killed after his truck crashed into a traffic signal pole during the stormy weather.

A flash flood watch will remain in effect for most of the San Francisco Bay area extending to the Santa Cruz Mountains throughout the weekend. A constant barrage of heavy to moderate downpours could lead to standing water and numerous drains being flooded, said Diana Henderson, a forecaster with the National Weather Service in Monterey.

The North Bay was seemingly hit the hardest as parts of Sonoma County received more than 7.5 inches of rain and areas in Napa County received nearly 6 inches, Henderson said.

"It's not a superstorm by any measure, but this is pretty significant," she said. "We should see periods of moderate to heavy rains."

November 30, 2012
Northern Sierra sees state's biggest rainfall

Rainfall amounts just released by the National Weather Service show locations in the Northern Sierra Nevada have received the most rainfall of anywhere in California -- even more than the notoriously soggy North Coast.

The data show that the rainfall leader for the 24 hours that ended at 11 a.m. was Stirling City, small town in the foothills east of Chico. The location, which is part of the Feather River watershed, recorded 8.36 inches of rainfall in 24 hours.

Other soaked locations include Bucks Lake with 7 inches of rain, Brandy Creek with 7.2 inches, and Oak Mountain above Lake Shasta with 7.52 inches.

The city of Sacramento received 1.72" inches in the same period, recorded at Sacramento State University.

Other area locations include Auburn with 2.8 inches, Walnut Grove with 2 inches, Grass Valley with 4.3 inches and Georgetown with 3.4 inches.

November 30, 2012
Semi slams into center divider on I-5, south of Sutterville Road

LS JACKKNIFEDA.jpgA traffic accident on Interstate 5 in Sacramento involving a jack-knifed big rig has been cleared.

The rig hit a center guard rail on I-5 just south of Sutterville Road about 8:30 a.m, causing traffic to back up in both directions of the freeway. California HIghway Patrol cleared the accident at 10:47 a.m.

One lane in each direction was blocked. Diesel fuel was spilled on the roadway.

- Bill Lindelof

Photo caption: A jack-knifed big rig is removed from the southbound lane of Interstate 5 near the Seamas Avenute exit in Sacramento on Friday, Nov. 30. Photo by Lezlie Sterling /

Here's Fox40's video of the jack-knife.

November 30, 2012
Beach walkers should be mindful of sneaker waves

In a press release, State Parks officials warn visitors to ocean beaches to watch out for rogue waves during the stormy weekend:

"All visitors to water recreation areas need to be aware of the fact that many people drown when caught by the periodic waves often called sneaker or rogue waves. It happens when people walk right at the surf line, not expecting that any wave will suddenly go much farther up the beach than other waves they are seeing. Some are so powerful that they knock people off their feet and drag them back into the ocean."

"Winter storms and sea conditions can dramatically increase the dangers along our coastal areas," said Ronilee Clark, a state parks deputy director.

Northern California boy swept out to sea still missing

November 30, 2012
Flash flood warnings along coast; power out on Bay Bridge

From the Associated Press: Some coastal areas of Northern California were under a flash flood watch early Friday morning, with Sonoma County in the San Francisco Bay area under a more severe flash flood warning until 9:15 a.m. Thousands of people were without power.

A power outage also affected the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, where at least the suspension span was briefly in the dark.

Officials say another storm is expected over the weekend, creating the possibility of rock and mud slides in areas that are already saturated and have been affected by wild fires.

November 30, 2012
Update: Highway 16 near Rumsey is open again

Caltrans reported that Highway 16 in Yolo and Colusa counties has re-opened after earlier being closed due to flooding and mudslides.

Motorists earlier were advised by Caltrans to avoid Highway 16 from the junction of Highway 20 in Colusa County to about a mile south of Rumsey in Yolo County due to the flooding and mudslides.

November 30, 2012
Traffic accidents, flooding are rife on streets this morning

Commuters were having to dodge pooling water on streets this morning in the Sacramento region.

Around 8 a.m. roadway flooding was reported at various intersections, including Eureka Road and Wellington Way, Walnut Avenue and Cypress Avenue and in Arden Arcade at Hurley Way and Fulton Avenue. At Madison Avenue and College Oak Drive, the pavement was flooded and a vehicle was stalled in the roadway lake.

Traffic collisions were reported throughout the region during the commute hours, including one on Bass Lake Road near Highway 50. The California Highway Patrol traffic website reported that four vehicles were involved and that the roadway was flooded.

Keep updated on traffic conditions

November 30, 2012
PG&E driver dies in West Sacramento crash during storm

A Pacific Gas & Electric employee died when his truck slammed into traffic signal pole in West Sacramento early this morning.

Police officers responded to the crash about 2 a.m. at the intersection of Lake Washington and Jefferson boulevards. The driver died at the scene.

West Sacramento police are investigating the incident, which occurred as a rainstorm was moving through the area. Police say it is possible that weather was a factor in the crash.

Police advise motorists to avoid the area today as city crews fix the traffic light. A pole will have to be replaced.

November 30, 2012
Heavy rain, gusty winds keeping work crews busy, drivers wary

By Bill Lindelof

RP RAIN CLOGGED STORN DRAINB.jpgThe first strong punch from this week's series of storms arrived overnight, delivering heavy rain and gusty winds.

Moving into the Sacramento region just as trees were losing their leaves, the soaking autumn storm kept municipal crews working through the night. At 5:15 a.m., in a driving rain, a City of Sacramento worker was dutifully using a rake to remove leaves from atop a gutter grate on H Street near Mercy Hospital.

Early morning commuters had to deal with dicey driving conditions. High winds threw palm fronds onto city streets and downpours pooled water on freeway offramps.

As of 5 a.m., rainfall totals were already substantial. From 11 p.m. to 5 a.m., totals included: .86 of an inch in Sacramento, .66 in Elk Grove, .79 in Rancho Cordova, .82 in Fair Oaks, .90 at Folsom Lake, .86 at Roseville, .73 at Loomis and 1.46 at Auburn.

November 29, 2012
Flood warning issued as new storm arrives

By Matt Weiser

ggbridge.jpgWeather officials late Thursday upgraded their flood advisory to a "warning" for most of Northern California as the second in a series of warm, wet storms moved into the state.

The flood warning, issued by the National Weather Service, lasts through 3:15 p.m. Friday and covers virtually all of the state's interior from Woodland north. A warning means that flooding is imminent or has already been reported.

Rainfall amounts of 2 to 3 inches over the Sacramento Valley and 4 to 8 inches over the mountains are expected during the period of the flood warning. Rapid rises in small streams and possible flooding along them is anticipated in some locations, especially on streams feeding the upper Sacramento River in the area of Red Bluff.

November 29, 2012
Live blog: Tracking the storms in Sacramento, Northern CA

November 28, 2012
Elk Grove cancels celebration of bridge grand opening


A grand opening celebration of Longleaf Drive Roadway and Bridge, 9260 Laguna Springs Drive, Elk Grove that had been scheduled for Thursday morning has been cancelled, city officials said.

While inclement weather has forced the cancellation of the ribbon-cutting ceremony, Elk Grove officials said the new roadway-bridge that connects Laguna Springs Drive and Big Horn Boulevard opened this week.

The vehicular bridge, which goes over Elk Grove Creek, also is pedestrian and bicycle friendly.

Do you know of other events canceled because of the storm? Email

PHOTO CAPTION: Longleaf Drive Roadway and Bridge connects Laguna Springs Drive and Big Horn Boulevard. Photo courtesy City of Elk Grove.

November 28, 2012
I-5 reopened in downtown Sacramento; flooding on Highway 50

LS BIG RIGA.jpgInterstate 5 in downtown Sacramento is open again after being closed northbound for several hours this morning with a big rig collided with an SUV.

Numerous crashes are being reported on Sacramento area roads today during the first major storm of the season.

The California Highway Patrol reported flooding on Highway 50 in both directions just east of Cameron Park Drive in El Dorado County. The freeway remains open. Officials urge drivers use caution.

Photo caption: A big rig jack-knifed on north-bound I-5 near the J Street exit after colliding with a SUV, in Sacramento on Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2012. Photo by Lezlie Sterling /

November 28, 2012
5-day rainfall forecast looks impressive

The California-Nevada River Forecast Center, a branch of the National Weather Service, produced the eye-popping image below. It is a forecast of rainfall in Northern California for the next five days, ending Monday, Dec. 3, 2012, at 4 a.m.

The scale at the top is in inches. It indicates that the most intense rainfall for interior California is expected in Shasta, Tehama, Butte and Plumas counties.

The image will evolve as the forecast changes day-to-day at the link above. Shorter-duration forecasts are also available.

RSA_QPF_Days1-5.pngCAPTION: 5-day rainfall forecast for Northern California through 4 a.m. on Monday, Dec. 3, 2012. Scale at the top is in inches. Source: California-Nevada River Forecast Center

November 28, 2012
Weather service update includes storm timing

The National Weather Service has released an update on the storm:

• Timing: Most intense storm periods Thursday night, Friday and Sunday.

• Expected storm total amounts: Mountains 12 to 18 inches.  Snow level rising to 7,000-feet elevation by Thursday.  Foothills: 6 to 12 inches or rain. Sacramento Valley: 4 to 8 inches.

• Wind: Strongest winds Thursday through Sunday.  Mountains, 25 to 40 mph, gusting to 70 mph.  Foothills, 25 to 35 mph, gusting to 55 mph.  Valley floor,  25 to 35 mph, gusting to 55 mph.


November 28, 2012
SMUD offers advice for possible power outages

By Tony Bizjak

The Sacramento Municipal Utility District offers this advice for possible power outages.

• Become familiar with your service panel location and how to operate the main circuit breaker.

• Prepare a simple emergency kit: a flashlight, battery-operated clock, extra batteries, manual can opener, supply of bottled water

• Have a battery operated radio or television or to get news reports with estimated times that electricity will be restored.

November 27, 2012
Storm Watch: First round of rain, wind arrives

7:52 p.m. Wednesday
Umbrellas are in order today as the first in a series of potentially soaking storms has arrived.

The first storm today is expected to be windy with gusts around 30 mph in the Sacramento region. Rainfall amounts are expected to be around a half inch.

Related stories:

River of storms headed to Northern California

First in series of storms arrives

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