COOL CITY, CALIFORNIA — On Monday, a massive storm that pounded western Alaska during the weekend roared across Northern California, where it dumped snow on the mountains ahead of schedule and rain that helped firefighters put a massive blaze under control.
The California Department of Transportation said on Sunday that State Route 108 was closed at the summit of Sonora Pass due to snow and ice in the eastern Sierra Nevada.
Sherriff’s authorities in two counties were able to cancel or reduce specific evacuation orders due to the 38% containment of the 119-square-mile (308-square-kilometer) Mosquito Fire in the Sierra foothills northeast of Sacramento. It’s the enormous fire of its kind in the state this year.
Fire spokesperson Scott McLean said the upcoming rain was a mixed blessing for their efforts.
A little bit, it helped put out that fierce fire, as McLean put it. But now that it’s muddy, we have to worry about additional safety concerns. Some of the broken trees can even topple over from the wet soil.
The National Weather Service warned that ash and mud flows might become more common if rains over the Mosquito Fire lingered. Northern areas of the Coast Range, still recovering from a devastating wildfire two years ago, have seen minor floods and mudslides.
Throughout the day, scattered showers were predicted from Sacramento north to Redding. The weather agency warned that driving conditions might be hazardous and that commute times could increase.
Over an inch and a half (2.5 cm) of rain fell in some mountain locations on Sunday in Marin, Napa, and Sonoma counties north of San Francisco, according to the National Weather Service. Bay Area flood warnings were lifted early Monday.
It was predicted that the rain bands that reached Santa Cruz County and the Central Coast would not make it to Southern California.