Power back on for some, still out for others | NevadaAppeal.com

Power back on for some, still out for others

F.T. Norton, Appeal Staff Writer

Electricity was restored to east downtown Dayton shortly after 5 a.m. Tuesday after 60 hours without power, resident Lee Sommers said.

But it was too late to save her Christmas dinner.

The contents of her freezer were thawed and coated in bread dough, which had exploded.

Don’t even ask her about the five dozen shrimp she bought on special at Smith’s market.

“When we opened the door — whew — you don’t wanna know,” she said.

“But we have heat!”

Sommers was one of thousands of people in Lyon County and around Northern Nevada who suffered for days while crews from Sierra Pacific Power Co. struggled to restore electricity after record winds Saturday knocked down more than 75 poles.

A snow advisory remains in effect in the Sierra Nevada. Scattered snow showers are likely today across the northern third of Nevada from the California state line to Utah, with forecasters predicting unsettled weather through Christmas.

“Today should be partly cloudy with a high temperature around 40 and light winds,” said Rudy Cruz, weather service specialist with the National Weather Service. “Wednesday night should be partly cloudy and cold with lows in the teens.”

Thursday will be cloudy with slight chance of snow in the afternoon and highs in the 40s. Thursday night there’s a chance of snow with lows in the 20s.

Electricity to about 200 homes in the Ruhenstroth section of Gardnerville was brought back on line Tuesday.

Skip Allin said he and his wife, Pat, had resorted to putting their milk outside on the car.

“It’s 42 degrees in this house,” he said an hour before the power was on. “The only benefit is you have to cuddle to stay warm. That’s the best part.”

“Crews are working 24 hours a day,” said Gary Aldax, spokesman for Sierra Pacific Power.

Aldax said repairs have been hindered by the severe weather that has dumped more than nine feet of snow in the Sierra.

Sierra Pacific officials estimated about 10,000 customers still were without electricity Tuesday — about 3 percent of the utility’s 326,000 customers.

“We’re making good progress in the Carson City-Minden area,” where the number of homes without power was cut to about 350 Tuesday, Aldax said. Carson City still had two dozen customers without power.

The Lake Tahoe area was the hardest hit with 7,400 homes without power.

“In Lake Tahoe, we made some pretty good ground and then the next wave of the storm came through and knocked out some more lines,” he said.

A combination of power outages and bad roads meant another snow day for pupils in the Tahoe-Truckee school district, the Lake Tahoe Unified district, Incline Village and Storey County.

Chains were mandatory on Interstate 80 over Donner Summit on Tuesday with chains or snow tires required on all other mountain roads that were open.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Is flooding a possibility in Carson area this season?

By Jill Keller, Appeal Staff Writer

Flooding in the Carson area is not expected as a result of the dumping of snow this week, officials said Tuesday.

Carson City has experienced flooding in some areas but does not anticipate major flooding problems for the next week, said Transportation Manager John Flansberg.

Following the New Year’s Day flood in 1997, the city developed a “sandbag plan” that channels rising waters and lessens flooding, Flansberg said. The plan has been effective and the city continues to use it.

During area floods in January 1997, the last big flood, the Carson River level hit 18.4 feet, more than two feet over the record 16-foot level that occurred in 1955, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

The flooding forced evacuations of housing areas, street closures and mud slides.

The Truckee River also reached record levels. The flood closed some downtown Reno casinos and sent a torrent of water through Reno and Sparks.

After a huge snowfall, the area was hit with a succession of subtropical storms, which contained moist, warm air. The resulting warm rain melted much of the snow in the area, creating runoff that overwhelmed waterways.

With cold temperatures and snow showers expected in the next few days, the National Weather Service in Reno does not anticipate flooding to be a problem.

“For the next week, it looks like whatever storms we have are relatively cold,” said hydrologist Gary Barbato.

Later in the season, if snowpack in the upper elevations reaches 120 percent of normal, the area could see flooding from snow melt, Barbato said.

Other than that, only an event that would produce rain on top of snow could result in flooding, but it is not likely within the next week, he said. The Carson River poses a threat because it has no reservoir control to stem its water flow.

Carson had minor flooding Monday, Flansberg said. The roads department took more than 100 calls for problems with downed trees, local flooding and snow berms.

The city is extending its tree and leaf debris pick-up program to help residents clean up after the weekend wind and storm activity.

Residents should cut up any fallen limbs and collect debris at the curb. The city will take calls at 887-2345 and residents will be put on a list to have the debris picked up.

“We will do our best to pick that up in between the storms,” Flansberg said.

Red Cross opens shelter for storm victims

By Jill Keller, Appeal Staff Writer

The American Red Cross opened an emergency shelter Monday morning at the Reno Livestock Events Center to help residents affected by power outages or who have lost their homes during the storm.

The shelter is able to immediately hold up to 200 people, and additional beds and equipment can be brought in, said Jim Utterback, director of emergency services for the Sierra Chapter of the American Red Cross.

“We have plenty of room for quite a few people,” Utterback said.

The organization will provide breakfast, dinner and snacks at the shelter.

The Reno Livestock Events Center is at 1350 N. Wells Ave.

During the storm, the local Red Cross responded to a variety of calls for assistance. Families that lost homes from damage are being sheltered in Gardnerville, Yerington, Carson City, Sparks, Walker Lake and the Indian colony in Schurz.

The chapter also provided 80 blankets to Rite of Passage for a shelter in Lyon County, according to a Tuesday news release.

“Right now, people (in Carson) are sitting in pretty good shape,” Utterback said.

Local charities reported no major requests for assistance from residents. Friends in Service Helping’s Executive Director Monte Fast said he provided jeans, boots, raincoats and clothing for Carson City High School students who arrived at school Monday soaked.

FISH has space for shelter and can provide assistance to the needy. Fast said.

The Carson City Salvation Army reported no calls for assistance.


Important Numbers

— Road Conditions: 1-877-687-6237

— Sierra Pacific Power: 1-800-962-4167

— Red Cross: 856-1000

In the event of a power outage, the Red Cross offers the following tips:

— Do not open the refrigerator or freezer. Tell children not to open the door. An unopened refrigerator will keep foods cold enough for a couple of hours at least. A freezer that is half full will hold for up to 24 hours and a full freezer for 48 hours.

–If it looks like the power outage will be for more than 2 to 4 hours, pack refrigerated milk, dairy products, meats, fish, poultry, eggs, gravy, stuffing and leftovers into a cooler surrounded by ice.

— If it looks like the power outage will be prolonged, prepare a cooler with ice for freezer items.

— As soon as the power returns, check temperatures. If the food in the freezer has ice crystals and is not above 40 degrees, you can refreeze it. Perishable foods in the refrigerator should not be above 40 degrees F. for more than two hours.

Source: http://www.redcross.org/services/disaster/