The “bomb cyclone” hit hard Sunday, giving Sacramento its wettest day in recorded history and dumping several inches of rain throughout the Sacramento Valley and Sierra Nevada foothills.
Residents and emergency authorities across Northern California are taking inventory Monday morning, after rain inundated roadways and produced debris flows and mudslides, and gusty winds felled trees and knocked out power for many.
While heavy snow continues to fall on the Sierra Nevada, and some weather advisories including flood and debris flow warnings remain in place for several hours, the storm’s heaviest punches appear to have passed for the Valley and northern foothills.
Radar images from the National Weather Service show rain and snow migrating southeastward, with moderate amounts falling in the San Joaquin Valley and in the foothills just east and southeast of Lake Tahoe. The storm has its sights on Southern California, with officials from Santa Barbara to Los Angeles making preparations for a midday downpour.
Back in the capital, as of Monday morning, local emergency officials had not reported any storm-linked fatalities.
Radar update from 8:30 AM: Rain and snow continue this morning for much of interior #NorCal. If you are traveling, be prepared for wet roads and leave yourself extra time to reach your destination. Hazardous travel continues over Sierra mountain passes. #CAwx pic.twitter.com/ZfmaXb3dh2
— NWS Sacramento (@NWSSacramento) October 25, 2021
Debris flows and flash flood warnings
The main concern heading into Sunday’s downpour was for regions near the burn scars of major wildfires that have burned in recent years, including the Caldor Fire in El Dorado County, the River Fire near Colfax, the North Complex in Butte County and the vast Dixie Fire.
Nevada and Placer county officials ordered mandatory evacuations in the Bear River drainage area near the River Fire scar, where the National Weather Service issued a flash flood warning through 3 a.m. Monday.
The Placer County Sheriff’s Office lifted evacuation orders just before 1 p.m. Monday.
Flash flood warnings for the Caldor Fire burn scars expired at 9 a.m. Monday.
While weather and emergency officials continue to urge extreme caution in those areas, there have not been any immediate reports of widespread damage or any injuries from debris or mud flows.
The storm also brought welcome news for wildfires: Authorities announced Monday morning that the Dixie Fire, which has raged since July 13 and is the state’s second-largest blaze by area, was 100% contained. The fire charred 963,309 acres (1,505 square miles) in Plumas, Butte, Shasta, Tehama and Lassen counties.
Rockslides, flooded highways and property damage
Debris flow has, however, impacted traffic.
One of Sunday’s most dramatic sights: A large rockslide that continues to close Highway 70 in Plumas County, between Jarbo Gap and Greenville Way.
Another rockslide, late Sunday night on Highway 50 near Echo Summit, continues to block all lanes Monday morning, according to Caltrans.
Highway 50 as of 9:30 a.m. remained closed between Fred’s Place and Meyers. Crews have to blast the rocks to clear the roadway, and reopening is estimated for 11 a.m.
The Winters Police Department said around 10:15 a.m. that Highway 128 is closed between the Yolo-Solano county line and Markley Cove due to a mudslide at the Monticello Dam.
Caltrans also said eastbound Highway 50 was closed at Pollock Pines due to flooded lanes as of 8:30 a.m.
— WXChasing (Brandon Clement) (@bclemms) October 24, 2021
UPDATE: Boulders will need to be blasted to clear the roadway on Highway 50 over Echo Summit. One-way traffic control for several hours to clear the roadway. ETO is 4 hours for full opening. pic.twitter.com/RwQeW0XF6J
— Caltrans District 3 (@CaltransDist3) October 25, 2021
Reports of damage in Northern California have been scattered.
Numerous posts to social media documented flooding on highway lanes and local roadways, including images of ill-advised attempts by drivers to ford through.
Residents also shared photos of trees and tree branches falling on houses and parked vehicles.
The storm has arrived but it won’t stop our officers - they are on duty 24/7 to help our community.
If you are traveling the streets, watch for downed tree limbs and standing water and be safe out there #Sacramento. #sacpd pic.twitter.com/KjVAAtvqqU
— Sacramento Police (@SacPolice) October 24, 2021
: 10.24.2021 | Trees and branches are down throughout Downtown Sacramento
: Sacramento, CA
Black Zebra Impact Team Artistic Journalist: Jeoffrey pic.twitter.com/Xq6FlIY3RG
— Black Zebra Productions (@blackzebrapro) October 24, 2021
The storm brought not only heavy rain to the Sacramento area but also gusty winds, strong enough to split this 100-year-old Oak Tree at its root. Thankfully, the family inside is OK. We’ll hear from the homeowner about the frightening morning, coming up on @FOX40 pic.twitter.com/aKLH5WEDVG
— Bridgette Bjorlo (@bridgettebjorlo) October 25, 2021
Flooded creeks in Sacramento
Some creeks and streams in Sacramento County surpassed flood stage Sunday and remain elevated, according to county monitoring systems.
The Dry Creek bypass and its east and west branches at Elkhorn all remain above flood level.
Arcade Creek at Winding Way was flooded for several hours, from Sunday evening through early Monday morning. It exited the flood stage around 5 a.m. and left the monitor stage around 8:30 a.m.
The Deer Creek Crossing at Scott Road, which frequently floods, has remained above flood level since around 8:30 p.m. The site came within a half-inch of tying an all-time record for water level at that site, according to the county, of 164.5 feet. The creek level rose nearly 5 feet in about five hours.
Drivers should avoid those areas unless absolutely necessary, and should use extreme caution anywhere in the vicinity of flooded creeks or streams.
The National Weather Service has a winter storm warning in place through late Monday, advising that between 8 inches and a foot of snow are possible above 5,500 feet in the central and northern Sierra. Between 1 to 2 feet could fall in the southern Sierra.
Chains are required on Highway 50, Interstate 80, Highway 88 and Highway 89 at pass level.
Snow is still falling on I-80 at Donner Summit with weather continuing to impact Sierra travel today.
CHAIN CONTROLS: R-2 EB/WB Nyack to the Nevada state line. I-80 EB travel is restricted to passenger vehicles only at this time. @NevadaCountyCA @PlacerCA @nevadadotreno pic.twitter.com/H1C9sVhR4H
— Caltrans District 3 (@CaltransDist3) October 25, 2021
A Winter Storm Warning has been issued for elevations above 6000 feet in the Sierra for Sunday night through Monday night. Periods of heavy snow and gusty winds will create hazardous travel conditions. Take it slow and stay tuned for updates! #CAwx pic.twitter.com/ARgOnatzCh
— NWS Sacramento (@NWSSacramento) October 24, 2021
Few schools closed for the day
Jesuit High School in Carmichael is closed Monday due to power outages brought on by the storm, the Catholic private school announced at 6:30 a.m. in a Facebook post.
“The loss of power has affected all Jesuit faculty and staff email, heating, internet, and public address system,” the school wrote.
No campus closures appear to be reported for San Juan Unified School District, which serves the Arden Arcade, Carmichael, Fair Oaks and Citrus Heights areas.
In the Sierra, Tahoe Truckee Unified and Lake Tahoe Unified school districts canceled classes due to snow and power outages.
One school, Vinewood Elementary in Lodi, was closed due to flooding on Tokay Street.
Will it rain more this week?
By about 8 a.m. Monday, only a light drizzle remained in the capital region. Blue skies emerged in some areas.
National Weather Service forecasts predict showers and a chance of isolated thunderstorms Monday in the Sacramento Valley. Tuesday will be overcast, and then it’ll be back to sunny skies with high temperatures in the low 70s Wednesday and Thursday.