Snowstorms damage power lines, canals across Sierra

Local News

The Latest – Thursday, Dec. 30

Placer County water officials said they expect temporary repairs to the Boardman Canal to be done by Saturday morning.

The breach has caused disruptions for residents in Midway Heights, Heather Glen, Weimar and Meadow Vista, the Placer County Water Agency reported.

As communities conserve water, they can pick up bottled water at the Applegate Fire Station at 18016 Applegate Road, the Placer Hills Fire Station at 100 West Weimar Cross Road, and the Weimar Country Store and Gas at 20170 West Paoli Lane.


Original story below:

(KTXL) — Pacific Gas and Electric said tens of thousands of its Sierra customers are still in the dark as crews struggle to get through the snow to damaged equipment.

PG&E spokesperson Megan McFarland said as of Wednesday evening roughly 49,000 customers in four counties were without power. They include:

  • Nevada County
  • El Dorado County
  • Placer County
  • Sierra County

The number of customers affected is down from Wednesday morning by about 7,000 customers. PG&E says snowfall has hindered their efforts in the Sierra division.

A spokesperson for the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services told FOX40 that Gov. Gavin Newsom has “activated the State Emergency Operations Center in Mather to actively coordinate the state’s response to these storms and work closely with local and federal and private sector partners to protect communities impacted by the recent storm.”

In Placer County, officials issued a local emergency due to the winter storm.

A record-setting winter storm resulted in unprecedented amounts of snow in the upper elevations of Placer County. Heavy snow and downed trees and utilities have caused extensive road closures, travel complications and damage to infrastructure, including Placer County Water Agency’s Boardman canal.

Placer County

Some residents, including those in Colfax and Grass Valley, lost power early Monday morning.

“I don’t think they realized how much snow they were actually going to get,” said Grass Valley resident Mary Powell, who lost power Monday around 2 a.m.

Along with the snow, downed trees have been making it difficult for PG&E crews to assess damage in those areas.

“Mainly the trees and the heavy snow, quantity of snow. We’re basically limited to either trucks with chains on or tract equipment to get out and about,” explained PG&E Sierra Division Field Operations Superintendent Mike Schutte.

One PG&E foreman told FOX40 he has never seen storm damage like this in his 12 years with the company.

McFarland said PG&E has been bringing in crews and equipment from other areas to help in the Sierra.

“We want customers to know that we are working around the clock to restore power. These storms have delivered an impressive amount of snow to the Sierra Division which makes our work more challenging,” she said.

Damage caused by the snowstorms have also led to water supply problems.

Jeff Smith with PG&E said a fallen tree damaged “the A Flume conveyance supply to” the Main Canal in Tuolumne County. The utility expects repairs to be completed by Saturday and in the meantime, Tuolumne Utilities District customers have been told to conserve water.

A fallen tree caused damage to the Main Tuolumne Canal. (Courtesy: PG&E)

In Colfax on Tuesday afternoon, the Placer County Water Agency reported a breach at the Boardman Canal. Customers who are affected by the issue were supplied bottled water, the agency reported. P

Along with the loss of power and water, some communities are also without gas and fuel, Caltrans reported Wednesday.

Some communities have opened locations to residents who need to charge their phones and medical devices.

The Auburn Library in Placer County announced Tuesday it was extending its operating hours for residents without power. Located at 350 Nevada St., the library is staying open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday.

In Foresthill, crews are struggling to get through the snow and downed power lines to open the Veterans Memorial Hall on Harrison Street to residents as a charging center.

Those who need additional non-emergency services have been encouraged to call 211 rather than 911 because dispatch centers have been overwhelmed by storm-related calls.

“911 should only be used for life-and-death emergencies,” said Placer County officials.

Officials in both California and Nevada have been telling travelers to stay off Sierra roadways and keep them clear for emergency responders and utility workers. The office of Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak said he was planning to declare a state of emergency due to the heavy snow and dangerous travel conditions.

Copyright 2022 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Don't miss

Latest News

More News