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Snowmageddon by the Numbers
Editors update; Jan. 24, 2016; 3:09 p.m.: Total JANUARY resort snowfall totals reported for upper mountains, according to Open Snow: Northstar California — 286 inches, Squaw Valley — 277 inches, Alpine Meadows — 282 inches, Sugar Bowl — 297 inches, Boreal — 300 inches, Homewood — 290 inches, Mt. Rose — 295 inches, Diamond Peak — 219 inches
January, a month often referred to as June-uary due to dry weather, is delivering everything but summer-like-weather to the Sierra. The new year has brought multi-day winter storm warnings, downed trees, large-scale power outages, historic snowfall, high winds, raging rivers, avalanches, mudslides, and shoveling — lots and lots of shoveling. As a result, a state of emergency was declared in Washoe and Nevada counties.
There was a break in storms this past week, but as of Jan. 18, a three-storm cycle is expected through Monday morning with total estimated snowfall as high as 71 inches in the mountains, according to Bryan Allegretto, snow forecaster for Open Snow. Below we break January down by the numbers to give an idea of just how intense the past 20 days have been.
• 15 feet of snow reported since the new year, a number that hasn’t been seen in 45 years, as reported by Squaw Valley/Alpine Meadows
• More than 24,000 Liberty Utilities customers at one time were without power
• The utility company issued 31 updates to local media and community partners throughout the storm
• 4,200 customer calls were received by the company with 3,700 customers speaking to live customer service representatives
• More than 600 outage reports were received by Liberty
• Liberty called in 10 contractor crews to assist their own crews (many of whom were going on 30 to 36 hours straight during the initial response; they caught a few hours of sleep in the Liberty offices and their vehicles.)
• Three trees naturally fell over Highway 89, between Tahoe City and Truckee
• Truckee California Highway Patrol has received 1,800 calls for service since Jan. 1
• Mountain Hardware & Sports has sold over 6,000 shear pins for snow blowers since Jan. 1 — typically they would sell 500 in January
• Swigards True Value Hardware has sold 400-plus shovels since Jan. 1 — typically they would sell a third of that
• Nine snow days were called by Tahoe Truckee Unified School District
• 150 miles of streets fall within the Placer County plow’s area of responsibility
• The Town has supplied between 8,000 and 10,000 sand bags and over 100 tons of sand
• The Truckee River peaked at 5,040 CFS on Jan. 8
• The Truckee ~ North Tahoe Cold Weather Emergency Warming Center has hosted 27 individuals and three dogs for warm meals and hospitality since opening 17 days ago
• Days spent on each tier of the Sierra Avalanche Center danger scale between Jan. 2 to 20:
o Low: 3
o Moderate: 5
o Considerable: 6
o High: 4
o Extreme: 1
Look Outside: The Storm Cycles Continue
A Winter Storm Warning is in effect now through 4 a.m. Monday with the Sierra expecting rain, snow, and high winds. The storm cycle is expected to break later on Saturday with the largest storm system expected Sunday into Monday. By Monday morning we could see 28 to 54 inches at lake level and 33 to 71 inches on the mountains, as projected by Allegretto. Cool, dry air will move in Tuesday with warming temperatures and little precipitation in the forecast for the rest of next week.
As daily snowfall becomes the norm, preparation continues to be important:
• Should power be knocked out again for an extended period, look for warming centers potentially at these locations:
o Tahoe City Public Utility District, 221 Fairway Drive in Tahoe City
o North Tahoe Public Utility District, 875 National Avenue in Tahoe Vista
o Cold Weather Emergency Warming Center (EWC), 10079 Church Street in Truckee
• Help with fire safety by adopting a fire hydrant in your neighborhood.
• Travelers should have snow tires, four-wheel drive vehicles, and carry chains rather than cables.
• As delays are anticipated, it is recommended that travelers start their journey with a full tank of fuel and carry an emergency kit in their vehicles with extra food, water, and clothing.
• Follow Moonshine Ink on Facebook where we will be posting real time updates.
• Keep your electronics charging, so, if power does go out, they are at full battery.
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