The Redding area’s deepest snow in 40 years caught many locals by surprise, with widespread power outages, road closures and general inconvenience. The 10 inches of snow on the valley floor prompted the Shasta County Sheriff’s Office to declare a local state of emergency, warning that the already damaging snowfall is expected to be followed by several days of high winds and heavy rains. Flooding can be expected, as well as falling trees and downed power lines. The vast powerless areas mean repairs will come slowly, public services will be limited and emergency response times will be extended. The sheriff’s office discourages travel unless absolutely necessary.
The Redding Library opened up as a warming center Wednesday and a shelter was set up overnight at Crosspointe Community Church on Hartnell Avenue. Xxygen was made available at the shelter for people who need it and were unable to get it from their regular suppliers or electric powered home oxygen machines.
An extended loss of electricity means people get creative about alternate ways to stay warm. Shasta County Public Health says people need to be aware of the danger of carbon monoxide, an invisible, odorless, colorless and difficult to detect gas that can kill without warning. Carbon monoxide is created by burning wood or fossil fuels, such as heating and cooking equipment or vehicles left running in closed areas. Early indications can include nausea, headache and drowsiness. Homes should not be heated by gas stoves or ovens, charcoal grills, lanterns or portable camp stoves. Extreme cold can also be deadly. Warning signs of Hypothermia can include shivering, exhaustion, confusion, fumbling hands, memory loss, slurred speech or drowsiness. More life saving information can be found at shastahhsa.net
The sudden and unforseen snowfall led to many school closures that are extended through Thursday. They include:
Shasta, Enterprise and Foothill High Schools
Black Butte Schools in Shingletown
Happy Valley Schools
North Cow Creek
Shasta County Office of Education along with Shasta Independent Study and Excel Academy
The following Enterprise Elementary and Middle Schools:
Alta Mesa, Boulder Creek, Lassen View, Rother, Shasta Meadows, Parsons, Mistletoe, Pace Academy, Redding Collegiate Academy, and Redding Stem Academy
Shasta College campuses are closed for cleanup and repairs, and they were already set to be closed Friday and Monday for the Presidents Day holiday.
Redding Electric Utility is getting assistance from six mutual aid crews from other agencies as they work to restore power to the city. Wednesday began with more than 30,000 REU Customers in the dark. At around 5PM in the afternoon there remained more than 13,000 without electricity, and many of them are still waiting. As of 12:45PM Thursday that number was 4150 REU Customers still in the dark. Crews will be working around the clock over the next 4 to 5 days to complete the repairs. PG&E reported around 60,000 customers without electricity at the start of Wednesday and at the end of the day there were still 40,000. Many of them have been given an estimated restoration time for this evening, but with so many repairs to complete, those estimates are anything but exact. Officials in the City of Shasta Lake are reporting this morning that 70% of the city’s electrical grid has been restored, though crews are continuing to work Summit City and areas north of Shasta Dam Boulevard between Interstate Five and Black Canyon.