Placer County Braces for Possible Flash Flooding

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Flash flood warnings were issued when a massive rainstorm made its way through Placer County.

At times, visibility on Interstate 80 was severely impaired as sheets of water came down on motorists.

Although there was no snow along the interstate, commercial trucks were pulled off the road at Applegate by Caltrans crews to see if they had chains. Nearby, in Meadow Vista, about 175 homes lost power when a tree fell across a PG&E power line.

The Placer County Water Agency which had rationed water supplies found itself anxiously monitoring the rainfall because there were getting too much of it.

The massive King fire burned about 50,000 acres of its Rubicon River Canyon watershed a few miles upstream of it's Rahlston Forebay reservoir.

Thousands of dead trees are now in danger of washing into the river and blocking the spillways of the dam, possibly damaging it. In addition, the dam provides electricity to the district which could also be knocked out.

“This storm is providing that saturation and accelerating that process," said Deputy Director Tony Firenzi.

A crew is now constructing a log barrier just upstream of the dam so logs can be pulled out, but it will take several weeks to finish the project.

In addition the U.S. Forest Service estimated that several hundred thousand tons of soil may also run into the river canyon. There was not enough time to cover the burned out area with straw to impede erosion.

“A lot of big material, big sediment getting into the reservoir affecting the power plant and the water supply," said water agency geologist Marie Davis.

The flash flood warning was due to be lifted by around 10:15 p.m.

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