White Out Conditions

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Posted by Shawn & Annette in Twain Harte News on March 24, 2011

The wind has finally died down after hours of blowing and gusting winds blew the snow around so hard it was difficult to see much further than the end of the car. My best advice to you is — stay home. Unless you have an urgent need to be out in these conditions, don’t.

Oh now don’t get me wrong, it’s incredibly beautiful out there right now. Crazy as it may sound, one of my favorite pasttimes when I was young, was to build a snowman from freshly fallen snow — which normally meant building it around 3:00 a.m.  Yes, I admit it, my friends and I were a little nuts.

No matter how much I complain about all this snow, I do truly love it. I remember living in Sacramento, where it snowed a total of once in the three years I lived there. I hated being without snow. I found it terribly depressing not being able to enjoy all four seasons.

This is still much better than living in Michigan, where once it snowed, you pretty much had snow all winter long and well into spring. Here, we might have two foot of snow today and it could all be gone tomorrow.

We’ve had about 8-10 inches fall so far this evening. Apparently, we could end up getting 4-6 feet more TONIGHT. I sure hope not. We weren’t able to find a snowblower and it’s nearly impossible to get a snow plow. My poor old body can’t take much more shoveling. I was trying to shovel some tonight and I can barely pick my arms up above my head.

If the electricity will just stay on for this storm, I can sit this snow storm out in the comfort of my livingroom where I have created a bird sanctuary for my own personal enjoyment — right outside my window. It gives me great pleasure to watch the various birds and animals wander into the yard to partake of a few goodies.

All in all, I really can’t complain.

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Living in Winter’s Grip

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Posted by Shawn & Annette in Outdoors, Tuolumne County, Twain Harte News on March 24, 2011

It’s a beautiful day outside — so long as you can admire it from the window as you sit in front of a roaring fire. Pooh would call this a very blustery day.

The roads aren’t too bad either, so long as you have decent tires and keep it slow. I slide around in the driveway a little but only because I got tired of shoveling and decided to just drive right through it.

In just the past couple of minutes the wind has really picked up.  It appears to be snowing from West to East rather than straight down. With all this sudden gusting wind, I’m concerned, not only about possible power outages but about the most recent Mymotherlode report:

The National Weather Service has issued a Significant Weather Advisory for the Motherlode through 5:30 PM.  

The line of storms were last reported just west of Milton in Calaveras County and moving east at thirty mph.

Small hail was reported with these storms along with very heavy rain. Funnel clouds will also be possible.

If threatening weather approaches your area, take shelter in a sturdy building.

While there is no mention of Tuolumne County that doesn’t mean we are in the clear. Sometimes I really miss not having television.

Many people are still without power at this hour.

Thursday Afternoon Power Outages

PG&E Spokesperson Nicole Liebelt says there are currently 4,945 customers in Tuolumne County without electricity mostly in the Twain Harte and Mi Wuk Village areas. 1,580 are without power in Twain Harte, 1,300 are in Mi Wuk Village, 680 in Pinecrest, 675 in Long Barn, 400 in Sonora, 200 in Groveland, 80 in Jamestown and 30 in Tuolumne City.

In Calaveras County there are just over 500 residents without power. These PG&E customers are mostly in the Arnold area with 475. Avery has 50 customers without electricity and 15 are in Valley Springs.

I will try to provide updates as often as I can but if this weather keeps up, we will have more power outages and worse. Twain Harte is really taking a beating up this way. Most people in the area are not prepared for long-term severe weather. I am worried about some of our more elderly neighbors, who may be struggling to get out for needed supplies.

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PG&E Restores Power…

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Posted by Shawn & Annette in Twain Harte News on March 22, 2011

Just moments ago PG&E restored power to some in the Twain Harte area. The entire area surrounding the  Twain Harte Shopping Center currently has power. It will be nice to do a load of laundry and bake a pizza.

Though I must say, Bob at the Twain Harte Pizza Factory treated us right when we dropped in for some chow after spending hours shoveling our driveway, so we could walk to the store. Due to a fallen tree blocking Michele Lane snow plows had been unable to clear the road. Many vehicles got stuck in the snow trying to back down the road.

I ordered the chicken and dumpling soup, I was expecting something hot, to warm me up, nothing more. The soup was incredible and the plain ham and cheese sub was pretty awesome as well. My guys split a Hawaiian pizza, which they gobbled down without any prompting at all. They both declared it to be sensational! We all left happy and more than satisfied, with our meal — and really the entire experience.

Of course, every person we ran into mentioned the weather in passing. It was wonderful seeing neighbors working together to clear the snow. The snow plow drivers were totally awesome. They made several attempts and managed to clear that big old tree out of the road — it looked like one snowplow had completely driven over the tree at one point.

Just as we got our drive shoveled out enough to get our car out, the snowplows came. Once the tree was removed, they came up from the bottom of the hill clearing the street really well. We were thrilled to have them finally clear our road. But then, they swung back, headed down the hill, we could see the writing on the wall — our freshly shoveled — clean down to the pavement drive — was about to be covered with chunks of dirty nasty, very heavy pieces of the “Sierra cement” — ice.

My arms ached so bad, I could have sat right down and cried, but I put on a brave face and watched as the snowplows neared our drive. The snowplow drivers were very careful (considering what they were driving) and didn’t do nearly as much damage as they could have. I waved and thanked them for a job well done and went back to shoveling — the guys had gone for gasoline for the generator.

I was mildly irritated, but it was nice to know that the snowplow drivers had a heart and weren’t maliciously blocking driveways.  🙂  There was a time when I secretly thought that.

I started back to work shoveling the snow, cleaning up the mess the snowplows had made, when suddenly a truck (with a plow) came up the hill, the driver slowed down and asked if he could lend a hand. He made short work of the mess and saved my back from pure exhaustion. All in all, it was a wonderful day.

Rumor has it that we are in for some rough weather for the next two weeks. The sun was out for most of the day today, which helped to melt a lot of the snow. The main roads were clear and dry for the most part. Chains are required at Strawberry. As we were leaving Sonora this afternoon, it began to gently hail, no rain or snow has fallen since then.

I was just outside and the wind is really picking up. Snow and ice are still falling from the branches of trees.

For those who are still without power, Mymotherlode reported three warming stations open in the area:

In the Soulsbyville area, a warming station is open at the Moose Lodge off Highway 108 at 20921 Longeway Road. A second warming station is available at the Word of Life Fellowship Center in Mi Wuk Village on Highway 108. At 2:00 pm, a third warming station opened at the Groveland Community Hall at 18720 Highway 120 in Groveland.

The shelters will remain open from 8am until 7:30 pm daily until the power outages are restored.

If you know of someone without heat, please pass along this information. I am sure many are still without power this evening.

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