Storm slams Plumas County
Plumas County remains in a state of emergency today, Jan. 11, as winter storms continue to cause flooding, road closures and power outages.
Sheriff Greg Hagwood issued the emergency declaration at 1 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 8, as much of the county was without power and flooding and rock slides forced road closures.
Plumas Unified School District also announced Sunday afternoon that all school sites would be closed Monday, Jan. 9.
Hagwood said that he and District Superintendent Terry Oestreich discussed the situation and they agreed that for the safety of all, schools should close.
“Due to the hazards of traveling on the roadways, whether it’s the parents trying to get their children to school or the buses, we thought it best to exercise caution,” Hagwood said. “Also, due to the changing conditions, we didn’t want to get into a situation where the children got to school, but we couldn’t get them home.”
As this newspaper went to press, Oestreich said that she anticipated schools reopening. “Deciding to close schools is always a difficult decision, but based on the information that we had on Sunday, we decided to close Monday.”
Power outages of varying lengths were reported from Portola to Chester.
According to PG&E spokesman Paul Moreno, most of the outages in Plumas County over the weekend were the result of a transmission line going out of service. This outage began at 12:43 p.m. on Sunday and affected customers in Chester, Quincy, Spanish Creek, Grays Flat, Chester and Big Meadows. Most of those customers were restored that evening and the remainder after 1 a.m. Monday. “We were not able to determine a cause as access to patrol the entire line was impacted by road blocks,” Moreno said.
There were tree-caused outages impacting Spanish Creek and Hamilton Branch also starting early Sunday afternoon.
At one point, nearly 11,000 customers were without power in the county.
“They did a commendable job,” Hagwood said of the utility crews.
Plumas Sierra Rural Electric, which services Eastern Plumas to East Quincy, also suffered power outages throughout the day and had its crews deployed facing similar issues.
According to Sheriff Hagwood, the worse flooding hit Indian Valley, Portola and portions of Quincy. “Chester didn’t have nearly the issues that other areas had,” he said.
In addition to flooding, the city of Portola had problems with its sewer treatment plant.
Numerous roads in Indian Valley were closed and, on Monday, that meant that Taylorsville was inaccessible.
Highway 70 in the Feather River Canyon was closed due to flooding and rock slides; the junction of Highways 70 and 89 near Graeagle was also closed for a time, and one-way traffic near Indian Falls on Highway 89 was also in effect.
All of the local fire departments and county yards had sand bags available to residents. Quincy Fire Chief Robbie Cassou said that the Department of Corrections in Susanville sent 10,000 sandbags to the area. In Quincy, 500 were filled, with some used at Plumas District Hospital. Sand bags are available at the fairgrounds in Quincy as well.
Trees were down throughout the county disrupting power, but one tree fell on a trailer in the Evergreen Mobile Home Park in Quincy.
Fire Chief Cassou said that the tree cut the structure in half, trapping an individual on each side. Rescuing them necessitated using the Jaws of Life.
During the duration of the weekend storm, Feather Publishing’s website was down, but updates were posted on its Facebook page, plumasnews.
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Both Union Pacific and BNSF Railroads are closed due to washouts 4 miles west of Portola (UP), Tobin (UP), and Moccasin (BNSF).
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