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Storm Prompts Evacuations In Nevada, Mud Slide Reported On I-80 In Truckee

Andrew Nixon / Capital Pubic Radio

A flooded road near Wilton, Calif. on Jan. 8, 2017. Officials are monitoring the Cosumnes River nearby.

Andrew Nixon / Capital Pubic Radio

9:01 P.M. UPDATE: Traffic in both directions of Interstate 80 has been shut down due to storm-related issues.

Eastbound traffic is being held at Colfax due to downed powerlines. And westbound traffic at Truckee is closed due to mudslide.

5:42 P.M. UPDATE: The California Department of Water Resources plans to open the Sacramento River Weir Monday to prevent urban Sacramento from flood waters.

The 1,920-feet weir has 48 gates that must be open manually. The weir gates are not open until the river reaches 29.87 feet at I street. The Sacramento River is currently forecast to reach 30 feet Monday by 2 p.m. 

4:30 P.M. UPDATE: Washoe County is officially in "flood stage," when overflow of the natural banks of a river begins to cause damage. 

County officials said the Truckee River topped its banks shortly after 4 p.m. The Reno Police Department is assisting in evacuating people in the North Edison Road area.

Other parts of the county were already under evacuations and roads were closed early Sunday afternoon. 


4:12 P.M. UPDATE: Authorities throughout Northern California and Nevada are warning residents to heed evacuation orders, flood warnings and road closures as a storm continues to bring heavy rains to the region.

In Sacramento, the city opened its Emergency Operations Center. Initially, there was concern in the Wilton area as water levels rose on the Cosumnes River. However, officials now say the river will likely stay within its levees. Other creeks are still being monitored including Deer Creek at Scott Road and Arcade Creek by the American River College.

In other parts of Northern California, stranded motorists were pulled from cars stuck on flooded roads in Marin and Sonoma counties. No injuries have been reported.

Officials are urging residents to avoid driving through standing water and to stay off rural roads, where rescues could be difficult.

Crews are clearing trees and debris following mudslides caused by steady rain. The weather system could dump 15 inches in foothill areas.

Several feet of snow is expected in the Sierra Nevada.

Rangers at Yosemite National Park have closed all roads leading to the park's valley floor.

Authorities were watching rising water levels of several rivers, including the Cosumnes, Truckee, Merced, American and Russian. 

Nevada authorities are closing flood-prone roads and bridges in the Reno-Sparks area.

-The Associated Press contributed to this report

3 P.M. UPDATE: Evacuations are in effect in Washoe County, south of Reno, due to flood risk. Meanwhile, the city of Sacramento activated its Emergency Operations Center Sunday afternoon.

In the Sacramento area, about 15,000 customers lost power in the North Highlands area. The majority of power was restored just before 3 p.m. 

Washoe County officials tweeted Sunday afternoon that 1,300 homes were evacuated in the Qulici area, south of Reno. While evacuees were initially told to go to Wooster High School, a later tweet stated that shelter was full and other evacuees should go to Sparks High School.

Crews have also put several road closures in place as water levels rise.

1 P.M. UPDATE: Heavy precipitation and snow continue to impact Northern California and Western Nevada.

Flooding has been reported in parts of Sacramento, as well as strong winds and downed trees. The city of Sacramento says it received more than 200 storm-related calls since the storm began Saturday. The city also handed out more than 5,000 sandbags. Meanwhile, crews have shut down the Del Paso Boulevard floodgates between Railroad Drive and Northgate

Sandbags are available until 6 p.m. at the following locations:

  • The North Area Corporation Yard, located at 918 Del Paso Road
  • South Area Corporate Yard, located at 5730 24th Street.

Officials are monitoring several creeks and rivers for flooding including Cosumnes River at Michigan Bar, Arden Creek and Laguna Creek at Eagle's Nest.

The lower American River has reached monitoring stage at 27.40 feet.

Evacuations are in effect for parts of Washoe County as water levels on the Truckee River continue to rise. Officials there believe flooding could begin at about 2 p.m.

Sparks officials also issued road closures starting at 1 p.m.

Emergency shelters are open in Elk Grove, Marysville and Sparks, Nevada at the following locations.

  • The Pavilion in Elk Grove Regional Park, 9950 Elk Grove-Florin Road
  • Yuba College Cafeteria. 2088 N. Beale Rd. Marysville, Calif.
  • Sparks High School, 820 15th St.

Flood warnings are in effect for San Joaquin County.

10 A.M. UPDATE: The atmospheric river continues to move through Northern California and Western Nevada bringing heavy precipitation and snow.

The majority of the rain is expected to fall Sunday and much of it will fall in the mountains with snow levels above 8,000 feet. Widespread flooding in urban areas, roadways, small streams and main stem rivers is expected. Mud and debris flows, rock and mudslides are also expected throughout the region, especially in areas scarred by wildfires. Wind gusts will be 30 to 50 miles per hour in the valley and up to 60 miles per hour in the mountains.

Officials are keeping a close eye on Wilton, Calif. especially along the Cosumnes River at Michigan Bar. Levels at the area have reached past the monitoring stage and will reach past flood stage at 3 p.m. Sunday, according to the California Department of Water Resources. A voluntary evacuation center, located at 9950 Elk Grove-Florin Rd, opened in Elk Grove for those impacted.

Yuba County also opened an emergency center at the Yuba College Cafeteria, 2088 N. Beale Road, Marysville, Calif.

9 A.M. UPDATE: An avalanche warning has been issued for the Greater Lake Tahoe area.

A flood watch also remains in effect for the Greater Lake Tahoe Area, the Greater Reno-Carson City Area and the cities of South Lake Tahoe, Truckee, Stateline, Incline Village, Sparks, Gardnerville and Virginia City.

Officials are warning commuters of slick road conditions.

On Saturday, the avalanche warning focused on the Third Creek drainage area of Incline Village. 

The North Lake Tahoe Fire Protection District warns against any back-country activities and says an "air blast" may affect people and vehicles downwind of an avalanche.

Washoe County Emergency Management sent out reverse 911 calls Friday regarding the avalanche likelihood.

Flood warnings and watches continue for the Susan River in Susanville in Lassen County, the middle fork of the Feather River Near Portola in Plumas County, the West Walker River Near Coleville in Mono County, and the Truckee River from Placer County in California to Storey and Washoe counties in Nevada.

Flood Stage for the Truckee in Reno is 11 feet. The river is expected to reach that at 2 p.m. Sunday and crest at 12.9 feet by 7 pm.

There are also freezing rain advisories throughout Western Nevada.

7 A.M. UPDATE: The National Weather Service has issued a flood watches and warnings for parts of northern California and Nevada.

The latest measurements show that Sacramento has seen nearly 2 inches of rain. Meanwhile, Grass Valley is at 2.53 inches and Placerville at 1.61 inches as of early Sunday.

In the Sacramento region, there is a flood warning for parts of Wilton, Calif. as the Cosumnes River at Michigan Bar nears flood stage. As of early Sunday, the river reached 7 feet and flood stage is at 12 feet. The Sacramento Office of Emergency Services says a voluntary evacuation center was opened in Elk Grove for low-lying areas of Wilton. The center is located at the Pavilion at Elk Grove Park, 9950 Elk Grove-Florin Rd, Elk Grove.

Meanwhile, Arcade Creek has reached 76 feet and flood stage is 76.34 feet. In Roseville, officials are closely monitoring creek levels after heavy rain briefly brought Cirby Creek above warning stage at Loretto Drive. 

The National Weather Service in Reno also issued a flood warning Saturday night for the West Fork Carson River at Woodfords, CA.

A flood watch is in place for Burney Basin, eastern and southwestern Shasta County, northern Lake County, Carquinez Strait, the Delta, the northern, central and southern Sacramento Valley, Clear Lake, Southern Lake, the Motherlode, the Sierra, Plumas County and Lassen Park. A flood watch is a step below a flood warning. 

Moderate-to-heavy rain is expected especially Sunday through Monday above the mountain pass elevations. Those areas have received between 12 and 19 feet of snow in the past week, according to Sugar Bowl Ski Resort. Sugar Bowl will be closed Sunday.

 The forecast calls for four to six inches of rain in the Central Valley between Saturday and Wednesday and between seven and 16 inches of rain in the northeast foothills, the Motherlode, western Plumas Mountains and the Sierra.

Yosemite National Park closures remain in effect through the weekend. Officials at the park released the following statement:

"Weather predictions suggest that the level of the Merced River will far exceed flood stage from January 7 through January 9, 2017, which will create hazardous conditions throughout Yosemite Valley. In order to maintain the safety of park visitors and residents while allowing management operations to continue unimpeded, the Superintendent of Yosemite National Park is designating Yosemite Valley as closed. The area will be closed until further notice is given."

-Capital Public Radio Staff

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